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Passing the Stupak-Pitts Amendment Does Not Solve the Abortion Problem

Deal W. Hudson

Posted on November 07, 2009, 7:05 PM

Published at www.insidecatholic.com

The Stupak-Pitts Amendment will very likely pass the House tonight. But no should assume that solves the problem of funding for abortion in the health care bill, H. R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care in America Act.

The health care bill will then move from the House to the Senate and then, if passed, go to conference where the amending barring abortion funding will probably be stripped out of the bill. The evidence for this was supplied today when Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) refused to assure Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), House Minority Leader, that the Stupak-Pitts amendment would remain in the bill after it goes to conference.

"I can't guarantee you anything," said Rangel.

Boehner replied, "it is quite clear this could be shell game underway. . . . I have my doubts this language if it passes has any chance of being in the final version of the bill."

Early in the day the web site Politico published a very misleading report, "Bishops Endorse the Bill," when in fact the USCCB was merely reiterating its support of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment.

Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the USCCB's pro-life office, told LifeSiteNews, the passage of the amendment would eliminate "our most serious moral problem with the bill."

Yes, it would be eliminated from H. R. 3962, but there is no guarantee the amendment would remain in the final version of the bill when is comes out of conference.

If Rep. Boehner is right, the Democratic leadership is playing a "shell game" with the pro-life members of the House and, it seems, with the USCCB.

This is how the game is played: Allow the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to gain enough votes for the health care bill to pass the House. Send the bill to the Senate and once it passes and goes to conference seek to strip any restrictions on abortion funding out of the bill.

This is precisely the significance of Rangel's unwillingness to assure Boehner that the amendment would remain in later versions of the bill!

It's important that pro-life members of the House vote for the Stupak-Pitts amendment in spite of the game being played, if only to support those Democrats who have taken a courageous stand against their party.

It should be added that H. R. 3962 does not contain clear provisions on conscience protections and the "death panels" on end-of-life care remains completely intact from earlier versions of health care legislation.

Finally, what about the "school-based clinics" that are mandated in Sec. 2511 of the bill? Organizations like Planned Parenthood will receive grants for these clinics which are described as not providing abortions but does not exclude abortion referrals.

Funds for school-based clinics [SBHC] may be used for:

"(A) providing training related to the provision of comprehensive primary health services and additional health services; (B) the management and operation of SBHC programs, including through subcontracts; and (C) the payment of salaries for health professionals and other appropriate SBHC personnel; and (2) may not be used to provide abortions.

"(A) is located in, or is adjacent to, a school facility of a local educational agency; (B) is organized through school, community, and health provider relationships; (C) is administered by a sponsoring facility; (D) provides comprehensive primary health services during school hours to children and adolescents by health professionals in accordance with State and local laws and regulations, established standards, and community practice; and (E) does not perform abortion services."


H. R. 3962 has multiple problems, only one of which is addressed by the Stupak-Pitts amendment, and even the fate of that amendment is not assured once the bill passes to the Senate.

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