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News & Views

Volume 37, Number 4-5                                                                                   www.nrlc.org                                                                                              April/May 2010

Democratic-controlled Congress enacts
Obama-backed health care bill, but the fight goes on

WASHINGTON (May 4, 2010)—With a strong push from President Obama, in March Democrats in Congress won enactment of a massive health care restructuring bill, without protections needed to prevent expansions of abortion, and with provisions that will lead to large-scale rationing of lifesaving medical treatments.

Pro-abortion President Barack Obama and
pro-abortion House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.)

Opponents, including the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), vowed to make lawmakers’ votes on the legislation a major issue in the November election, and to fight for drastic modification or repeal of the legislation in future congresses.

Some of the most dangerous provisions do not take full effect until 2014 or later,” explained NRLC Executive Director David N. O’Steen. “So there is a real opportunity for a later Congress to repeal the legislation before then or to prevent the most damaging parts of the legislation from going into effect.”

No Republican voted for the final bill in either the Senate or the House. The legislation ultimately won the votes of every Senate Democrat, and 87% of the House Democrats. The Democrats currently control 59 seats in the 100-member Senate, and hold a 77-seat majority in the 435-member House.

In 2007, while campaigning for the Democratic nomination for president, Obama pledged to Planned Parenthood that he would propose health care legislation that would create a national health plan (“public plan”) that would cover abortion, and would compel private plans to cover abortion. The bills introduced by congressional Democratic leaders in mid-2009 contained numerous pro-abortion provisions, and would have fulfilled both of Obama’s promises.

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Nebraska Passes Landmark Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

By Dave Andrusko

Combining years of planning, enthusiastic grassroots support, the backing of key legislators, and the invaluable help of National Right to Life, Nebraska has passed the landmark “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.” Pro-life Gov. Dave Heineman signed LB 1103 into law on April 13 following passage by the unicameral Nebraska legislature on a vote of 44-5.

NRLC State Legislative Director Mary Spaulding Balch summarized the thrust of the law in just nine words: “You don’t kill unborn children capable of feeling pain.” The law, basing its conclusion on an enormous body of medical research, sets the demarcation at which the unborn child can feel pain at 20 weeks.

The law does not go into effect until October 15. Pro-abortion organizations such as the Center for Reproductive Rights, have grumbled about possibly challenging the law in court. If such lawsuit were brought, it might be on behalf of, or in addition to, LeRoy Carhart, who specializes second and third trimester abortions. Carhart was a party to two abortion cases that were decided by the United States Supreme Court.

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From the President

Wanda Franz, Ph.D.

RATIONING IN THE
HEALTH CARE REFORM BILL

By Wanda Franz, Ph.D.

The National Right to Life Committee is committed to protecting the lives of innocent persons from conception to natural death. Thus, our mission ranges from defending the unborn from abortion to protecting older people and those with disabilities from euthanasia. One form of involuntary euthanasia occurs when people are denied health care that they need to save their lives.

Denial of lifesaving care occurs when rationing of health care is imposed in order to cut costs. Such cases of care denial have been reported in many countries with government-run health care programs, especially those in Canada and England. Care is rationed by simply denying the use of expensive newer drugs and denying or delaying therapies—especially for elderly patients. Data from Canada and England indicate that the survival rates for many illnesses are much lower than in the United States where the drugs and therapies are readily available.

One of the worst fears of the elderly is that they will not be able get the medical care they need because it isn’t considered “cost-effective” by someone else. This has never been a widespread problem in the United States. However, is that about to change? Do pro-lifers have to worry not only about the lives of the unborn but also their own? Is our health care system about to change for the worse? The passage of the Obama Health Care Reform unfortunately has made the answers to these questions a definite “yes.”

NRLC’s Powell Center for Medical Ethics has been warning about this potential threat during the entire debate on the bill. “Over-promising plus under-funding forces rationing,” says the Director of the Center, Burke J. Balch, J.D. The history of government-run health care programs in other countries has demonstrated that they are not financially sustainable. Sooner or later such programs run out of money. As funding is limited, rationing is imposed to save money.

Read Dr. Franz's Entire Column


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