Over the weekend, a White House adviser admitted that their “comprehensive” Health Care plan “might” include tax payer funding for abortion.

The possibility that a Health Care bill will mandate people to pay for abortions has caused a “heads-up” among blue dog Democrats.

The House voted Thursday on a rule to limit amendments on a financial-services spending bill, with 39 anti-abortion Democrats voting against the rule because it bars a vote on an abortion-related amendment.

You see, unless there is language in the bill to prohibit paying for abortion, all that is needed is a bill that “allows” some government committee or bureaucrat to decide what is considered an “essential benefit”. The Obama administration is full of “pro choice” types, so one suspects that they will include abortion as one of these “essentially benefits”, and if not, one suspects that eventually a court will do it for them.

Right now, taxpayer money does not fund most abortions, and most private insurance plans similarly do not fund most abortions, and most federally funded clinics, such as the one where I worked, will only fund abortions if the fetus has a high chance of deformation or the mother’s life is at risk.

The reason is only partly “religious”.

A lot of it is a deep fear of Eugenics: That the government will support programs to coerce or encourage the “wrong type of people” to stop having kids. Of course, it will not be said so crudely.

As Justice Ginsburg observed, (i.e. this was not her personal opinion) at the time when the Supreme Court changed the law, the consensus of the elites was behind it, in order to control the population, especially the population of undesirables:

“…Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. ..”

In the late 1960’s, I myself heard many comments to the same effect by medical students, physicians, and patients. Some even insisted that by letting these women abort, there would be less unloved, neglected children who would grow up to be criminals.

There were many strictures on tubal ligations, but once abortion became legal, suddenly poor women were asked if they wanted tubal ligations right after they had their baby: even when they were ambivalent about the procedure, I saw coercion by health care providers to do just that.  And a result of this abuse was a tightening of the law, including a waiting period, for women who wished a tubal ligation under Medicaid.

The reason I bring all this up is that the Eugenics aspect of health care is now part of the discussion, thanks to Justice Ginsburg and Peter Singer’s essay in the NYTimes Magazine saying that if the treatment is too expensive, or your quality of life is too low, you shouldn’t get care.

Ironically, variations of Singer’s argument have been around for years. For example, in 1987, Daniel Callahan, of the Hastings Center (an influential Ethics think tank), wrote a book Setting Limits, advocating limiting health care if your quality of life was low or if you were old.

The argument on the excess use of technology in the elderly, which merely prolongs the dying process, is subtle, but Callahan would even withhold antibiotics for simple infections from some patients.

But there is a societal problem with arguments like Callahan: Because when a medical profession is taught that the handicapped or retarded should not get care, soon you see abuse and neglect as the trickle down effect of this mindset.

Add to this toxic mix of cost control and quality of life calculations an Obama administration that has removed the right of conscience from federal regulations, and a court system that rejects the right of conscience as unscientific, as if ancient religious and ethical traditions were personal quirks.

The Health Care plan is a perfect solution to those who lack medical care, so most of us would like to support it.

And this is the irony of the Health Care plan: That those who would support it because it helps their patients will ultimately reject it because of it’s potential to become a lynchpin for what John Paul II has called a “culture of death”, where euphemisms are used to hide that the weak are eliminated in order to benefit the strong and rich.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the Philippines. She writes medical essays at Hey Doc Xanga Blog.

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