Boxer Confirms Senate Bill Does Not Restrict Abortion
By Matt Smith
A buyer’s chance to return a vehicle under the California lemon law applies for 30 days. Too bad for Senator Ben Nelson (D, Nebraska) the same does not apply to legislative deals cut in Washington D.C. with California’s pro-abortion Senator Barbara Boxer (D, California) when she talks to reporters 31 days later.
As most of America knows, back on December 19th Senator Nelson became the 60th vote needed to advance the Senate’s version of President Obama’s health care reform legislation – his self-described signature domestic policy initiative.
In announcing his compromise, Senator Nelson’s press release boasted:
“In negotiations with Senate leaders Nelson won new protections addressing abortion that are more thorough than the Stupak language included in the House health care bill.
“Nelson’s provisions: (1) ensure that no public funds will be used for abortion; (2) mandate that every state provide an insurance plan option that does not cover abortion; and (3) gives each state the right to pass a law barring insurance coverage for abortion within state borders.
“‘My values and principles have required me to fight hard to prevent tax dollars from being used to subsidize abortions,’ Senator Nelson said. ‘I believe we have accomplished that goal. I also fought hard to protect the right of states to regulate the kind of insurance that is offered, and to provide health insurance options in every state that do not provide coverage for abortion.
“’I know these limits on abortion are hard for some people to accept, and I respect those who disagree, but I would not have voted for this bill without them.’”
Joining Senator Harry Reid (D, Nevada) at the negotiating table representing abortion activists was Senator Boxer who oddly and immediately took heat from her friends in the “women’s groups” for agreeing to the compromise. Senator Boxer has been mysteriously quiet since the deal was struck with exception to her remarks on the Senate floor prior to the vote when she implored her colleagues with what now probably deserved a Golden Globe this past weekend – “Please don’t single out women…What have women done to deserve this? … Why have such a lack of respect for them?” However, the silence was broken on January 18 when Boxer, according to McClatchy News Service, “said it’s only an ‘accounting procedure’ that will do nothing to restrict [abortion] coverage.”
Senator Nelson made several errors in his negotiations that have been well reported during the past month. At some point he is going to need to go back to the salesman who sold him on what he was agreeing to would go further than the Stupak-Pitts language in the House version of the bill. The Stupak-Pitts language was not new federal policy. It merely preserved what is known as the Hyde amendment, passed in 1977, which prohibits federal funding for abortion except in the case of rape, incest, or life of the mother. The state ‘opt-out’ language in the Senate version agreed to by Senator Nelson is smoke and mirrors. What the Senate passed on Christmas Eve allows the federal government to fund abortions. It is disingenuous for Senator Nelson to think funding for abortions would be segregated. Regardless of any potential ‘opt-out’, the pool of money is there to stay and Senator Boxer is now confirming as such.
158 abortions occur every hour which means 3792 every day. Referencing the data contained in a 2007 Guttmacher Policy Review study would translate to an additional 548 abortions performed each day under the White House endorsed Nelson-Boxer-Reid compromise Senate language – a 15% increase in abortions in our country.
Congressman Bart Stupak (D, MI-01), the champion of the House language, immediately knew the same day Nelson cut his deal that “A review of the Senate language indicates a dramatic shift in federal policy that would allow the federal government to subsidize insurance policies with abortion coverage.” Was Senator Nelson misled during the negotiations or just out-maneuvered? Regardless, about now, he is probably wishing he also bought the extended warranty with his deal because he’s going to need it to continue explaining his compromise to the voters of Nebraska. And back in Washington, as the White House and a select group in the House and Senate continue hammering out the differences in their versions of the health care legislation, pro-life Americans must pray for a result like the number one industry in Senator Harry Reid’s state – where the House wins.
Matt Smith is a consultant in Washington D.C. and former Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison under President George W. Bush
A Marist survey of 1,223 Americans conducted May 28 – 31, 2009 found 86 percent of Americans would significantly restrict abortion; 60 percent of Americans would limit abortion to cases of rape, incest or to save the life of a mother – or would not allow it at all; 53 percent of Americans believe abortion does more harm than good to a woman in the long term; 79 percent of Americans support conscience exemptions on abortion for health care workers. This includes 64 percent of those who identify as strongly pro-choice; 69 percent of Americans think that it is appropriate for religious leaders to speak out on abortion; 59 percent say religious leaders have a key role to play in the abortion debate; 80 percent of Americans believe that laws can protect both the health of the woman and the life of the unborn. This includes 68 percent of those who identified as strongly pro-choice.
At Catholic Advocate, we rely on our community members to help us fulfill our mission to build and support a dynamic online Catholic community and provide essential information to Catholics engaged in the political process. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!