WWW Opinion Times

Monday, November 22, 2004

Congress Protects Insurers and Medical Providers from Conscientious Objection

The US House of Representatives added a provision in a $388 billion spending bill which will stop government agencies from causing harm to insurers and medical providers--including doctors' groups and hospitals--who refuse to pay for or offer abortion services.
"This policy simply states that health care entities should not be forced to provide elective abortions, a practice to which a majority of health care providers object and which they will not perform as a matter of conscience," said Rep. David Weldon, R-Fla., a doctor who sponsored the language. . . . "This provision is meant to protect health care entities from discrimination because they choose not to provide abortion services," he said.

This is a welcome addition to recent efforts to restrict government promotion of abortion services. There is clearly much more to be done, and state and federal government agencies in many ways fund and promote abortion providers or front organizations which give abortion referrals. For many years, doctors have become increasingly frustrated with the abortion procedure. But medical facilities and abortion providers are making hundreds of millions of dollars every year in billings for abortion procedures.

Captain's Quarters notes the struggle succintly here:
"In truth, pro-choice activists have become alarmed at the decline of abortion providers in the United States, calling it a crisis. Fewer and fewer doctors are willing to provide on-demand abortion; more doctors have become disillusioned with the casual abortions that now total more than 43 million since Roe v Wade. Democrats have paid lip service to making abortion 'rare', in Bill Clinton's words, but the reality is that the vast majority of these 43 million dead fetuses were simply inconvenient, a matter of post-conception birth control rather than any health issue on the part of either the mother or the baby. "

LifeNews.com reports that Sens. Olympia Snowe, R-ME, and Barbara Boxer, R-CA, are complaining to the Senate leadership about including this provision in the bill when it reaches the Senate. but Sen. Ted Stevens, R-AK, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee is saying he will honor the request of House leaders to keep the provision in the sprending bill.

This highlights the reality that elections are not the end of the political process but the beginning. Once we elect representatives, they must be held accountable. The prize will go to the diligent. Will the diligent in 2005 and 2006 be those who voted in President Bush and expanded Republican majorities in Congress or will it be Kerry and his supporters who feel so slighted by the election results?