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Monday, April 23, 2012

The Biggest Question—Does “Obamacare” Increase Abortions?

Of all the controversies about Obama, about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), about how Catholics and other Christians should think about this administration---none is bigger to me than the charge repeatedly made for years now that the ACA, or “Obamacare” is somehow a Trojan horse for massive increases in abortion funding in America. I have to say that this has always been a particularly troubling charge for me not only because I consider myself an Obama supporter opposed to abortion but also because my wife and I moved across country so that she could take a position in the federal government helping to implement the ACA. As people of Christian conscience, it is very troubling that so many of my fellow Christians believe the worst possible thing about the ACA, and by extension my wife’s work in implementing it—namely, that it was conceived in large part in order to drastically increase abortions in America. This charge, which played such a prominent role in the 2010 midterm elections and led numerous pro-life Democrats being defeated, is again being pushed as we head into the 2012 presidential election. I am therefore very pleased to see this new piece by Timothy Stoltzfus Jost at Commonweal’s website addressing this question with the most up-to-the-date research and facts. From now on, this will be THE article I refer friends to when they accuse me of being complicit in the murder of unborn children by my support for ACA (yes, that happens). This article is unlikely to stop the drumbeat in much of the pro-life community against the ACA, but it is an excellent contribution to the literature arguing that far from being a pro-life loss, the ACA is

the single most prolife piece of legislation ever adopted by Congress. Once the legislation is fully implemented, it will extend insurance coverage for life-saving medical care to millions of Americans, thousands of whom die each year because they lack access to care. The law explicitly does not allow insurers to “make coverage decisions, determine reimbursement rates, establish incentive programs, or design benefits in ways that discriminate against individuals because of their age, disability, or expected length of life.” All insurers in the individual and small-group market will be required to cover maternity care, a benefit often missing from today’s individual policies. None will be required to cover elective abortions. (emphasis added)

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