The tax in sheep’s clothing: How abortion funding sneaks into the health care bill

Charmaine Yoest, the President and CEO of Americans United for Life, recently wrote an editorial in the March 4 edition of the Wall Street Journal about the health-care proposal that is headed for a Sunday vote in the House of Representatives. One of the reasons the bill has been delayed in its return to the House is that a group of Democrat senators are withholding their approval based on the bill’s abortion language. As you may recall, when the bill passed in the House earlier this year, attached to it was a provision known as the Stupak Amendment. In simplest terms, it said that no federal funds would be used to pay for abortions. This amendment was proposed by Michigan representative Bart Stupak, a Democrat.

When the bill went to the Senate and was approved there, the Stupak amendment was not part of the bill. Another form of that amendment, not as strong in its terms, was a part of the bill. Likewise, the reconciled bill, written by the White House, has language similar to the Senate version. In her editorial, Yoest argues that this kind of deception is deliberate by President Obama and his administration:

Over the past year, language similar to the Hyde Amendment [banning federal funding for abortions] was crafted by Reps. Bart Stupak (D., Mich.) and Joe Pitts (R., Pa.) and inserted into the health-care bill that passed the House. When asked about the Stupak-Pitts Amendment in November, Mr. Obama talked around the issue. He said that “there is a balance to be achieved that is consistent with the Hyde Amendment.” When asked if Stupak-Pitts struck this “balance,” the president replied “not yet.”

That’s an odd reply. The question of abortion funding doesn’t have any Zen to it: The funding is either prohibited or it’s not.

In November, presidential adviser David Axelrod, on CNN’s “State of the Union,” also talked around the Hyde Amendment, saying that the president “doesn’t believe this bill should change the status quo as it relates to the issue of abortion.” But then Mr. Axelrod claimed that “this shouldn’t be a debate about abortion” before concluding that there were discussions in Congress about “how to adjust [the abortion language bill] accordingly.”

Apparently, his definition of “adjust” means opening up the spigot for the abortion lobby. The president’s latest proposal mirrors legislation that has passed the Senate, which doesn’t include a Hyde Amendment, and would inevitably establish abortion as a fundamental health-care service for the following reasons:

• It would change existing law by allowing federally subsidized health-care plans to pay for abortions and could require private health-insurance plans to cover abortion.

• It would impose a first-ever abortion tax—a separate premium payment that will be used to pay for elective abortions—on enrollees in insurance plans that covers abortions through newly created government health-care exchanges.

• And it would fail to protect the rights of health-care providers to refuse to participate in abortions.

The president’s plan goes further than the Senate bill on abortion by calling for spending $11 billion over five years on “community health centers,” which include Planned Parenthood clinics that provide abortions.

The president, in his zeal to get this bill passed, feels comfortable saying that there is a lot of misinformation out there. Perhaps that’s the information coming from the president. At the AUL Web site, there is a chart that explains how your tax dollars can be used to fund abortions even without having them go directly to abortion services (click on the image to see it larger).

Yoest, in an interview below last week on the Albert Mohler radio program, goes on to explain how this can all take place under the new legislation. This may seem hysterical to some, but there are some principles that are too important to be brushed aside, even for something that may be considered worthwhile. And this health care bill is hardly worthwhile.

http://idisk.mac.com/thebrott4-Public/CharmaineYoestinterview.mov

Help from the government: The introduction of ‘therapeutic nihilism’

Joe Carter, writing last week at his First Things blog, takes a hard look at how the Netherlands has fallen steeply into the pit that is assisted suicide. It’s not a pretty picture, as he examines how the Netherlands has consistently expanded the ways doctors can help you kill yourself — or kill you without your permission — with government approval. The latest foray is legislation that would allow assisted suicide for anyone who has reached the age of 70 and has grown tired of living:

In any other country, such a proposal might be considered radical and shocking. But in the Netherlands—the country that first legalized euthanasia—the change in the law will merely decriminalize a practice that has been occurring for decades. An examination of how this formerly conservative, tradition-bound culture could adopt what the modern Hippocratic Oath refers to as “therapeutic nihilism” is useful for understanding how the other nations will begin to accept euthanasia in the near future.

Carter goes on to explain how this has crept into Dutch law little by little to the point where the medical community has been given the benefit of the doubt to the point where it is the one doing the policing authority when it comes to reporting abuses, if at all.

According to the Dutch Ministry of Justice, of the 135,675 deaths recorded in 1995, 3,600 (2.4%) were the result of a doctor-assisted termination of life while another 238 (0.3%) were cases of assisted suicide. The most disturbing statistic, however, is that 913 (0.7%) were terminations of life without the express request of the patient. For every three lives ended at the request of the patient, one person was killed without consent. While it is assumed that these cases consisted of terminally ill patients with no chance of survival, no one in the Netherlands knows for certain. Because the numbers are based on self-reporting by physicians, no accurate data exists to determine exactly how many Dutch citizens have been killed against their will.

Another comprehensive survey by Dr. Paul J. van der Maas in 1996 showed that the situation had indeed worsened since 1990. The total number of cases of euthanasia and assisted suicide had risen by a third from 2,700 to 3,600, with an estimated 60 percent not being officially reported. The number of cases of euthanasia without request by the patient also remained high, with 900 cases being reported. Although the government passively accepted the practice, doctors were still legally susceptible to prosecution if a disgruntled family member disagreed with the killing of their relative. Legislation to decriminalize euthanasia, which had been repeatedly proposed since 1984, was finally passed on April 10, 2001. A criminal liability exclusion was added for doctors who willingly reported their actions and demonstrated that they have satisfied the criteria of “due care.”

This is the kind of “culture of death” that not only exists, but exists with the approval of the government. If you are shocked by this, then that is good. When “tired of living” — aside from any physical illness — becomes an accepted reason for ending a person’s life, then we know that something has gone horribly wrong.

The daily earthquake of abortion is right in your back yard

On Jan. 12, 2010, a deadly earthquake hit Haiti. It has been estimated that anywhere from 150,000 to maybe up to 500,000 people lost their lives in this tragedy. There is still much suffering as many who have survived have been left homeless. There are many ways you can help beyond being there physically. Among many choices you can consider I would offer Compassion International, which works with children and their families, and Food for the Hungry. I cannot strongly enough urge you to help in whatever way you can.

Since that day when the major quake hit Haiti, there has been an equally devastating human tragedy that has hit among the most defenseless people in our society. I am talking about abortion. There are some estimates that 3,000 babies in the United States and 130,000 babies worldwide are killed by abortion. John Piper puts it in perspective in his sermon on his observance of Sanctity of Human Life Sunday yesterday at Bethlehem Baptist Church.

There are about 3,000 abortions a day in the United States and about 130,000 a day worldwide. Which means that the horrific, gut-wrenching reality of Haiti’s earthquake on January 12 happens everyday in the abortion clinics of the world. And it is likely that if the dismemberment and bloodshed and helplessness of 130,000 dead babies a day received as much media coverage as the earthquake victims have—rightly have!—there would be the same outcry and outpouring of effort to end the slaughter and relieve the suffering.

Americans have been giving 1.6 million dollars an hour for Haiti Relief for the last ten days—a beautiful thing. I hope you are part of it. It is so unbelievably easy to give with phones and computers. But the funding and resistance to the suffering of the silent, hidden destruction of the unborn is not so easy. So the 3,000 babies who are crushed to death every day in America by the earthquake of abortion go largely unnoticed.

If you have been compelled to perhaps adopt a Haitian child because they have been left orphaned, how much more so should you consider adopting a child that may be aborted. Is there really any difference? The point is not that we should do less for situations like the one in Haiti, but rather that we should not ignore a far greater tragedy in our society. As I sat in my own church on Sunday I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that nothing was mentioned about this tragedy. It is much safer to be concerned about Haiti. I hope we can muster our courage to change that.

A Sweet and Bitter Providence: Piper examines sex, race and God’s sovereignty in his new book

John Piper’s latest book, A Sweet and Bitter Providence: Sex, Race and the Sovereignty of God is now available. In it, he examines the book of Ruth and how it’s themes are relevant in the 21st century. From the publisher:

The sovereignty of God, the sexual nature of humanity, and the gospel of God’s mercy for the undeserving-these massive realities never change. And since God is still sovereign, and we are male or female, and Jesus is alive and powerful, A Sweet and Bitter Providence bears a message for readers from all walks of life. But be warned, Piper tells his audience: This ancient love affair between Boaz and Ruth could be dangerous, inspiring all of us to great risks in the cause of love.

Useful resources on bioethics from STR: Abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research

Stand To Reason is a great organization that puts out great material to help Christians think more clearly about their faith and give a gracious, even-handed defense of it. This page has some great resources from STR and other places that are useful when talking about issues such as abortion, stem cell research and euthanasia.

Here are just a few of the topics addressed:

Tragedy in Myanmar. Mass starvation caused by a plague of rats.

Just yesterday, the World Health Organization announced that the swine flu outbreak was now a pandemic. While we now much about the danger this outbreak poses, there are deadly threats that have, so far, gone under the radar. From Food for the Hungry comes this report about the Chin people in Myanmar:

About 200 villages in the Chin State in Western Myanmar are suffering from extreme food shortages due to a rat infestation. The phenomenon known as “maudam” occurs about once every 50 years when flowering bamboo trees produce a fruit that nourishes the rat population. The last time it struck was in 1958, preceded by incidents in 1911 and 1862. Rats feed on the fruit, multiplying by the millions until the fruit supply disappears after which the rodents ravage local rice and corn crops.

Eyewitnesses report barren fields and empty seed bins. In addition, as many as 100 children and elderly have already died from malnutrition and of the 100,000 Chin people who remain, many are weak, thin and sick. Without intervention, the situation will only worsen.

Nova has produced a documentary for PBS that is good in getting an education on how the disaster has spread. Because this is happening in a nation most people can’t find on a map and isn’t worldwide, it may be hard to be moved. Yet, there is a need and an opportunity to put your faith into practice. Go here to help.

HT: Desiring God blog