Ruth Marcus: Please Hire a Factchecker - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Ruth Marcus: Please Hire a Factchecker

In the course of admonishing everyone “Let’s End the Fear-Mongering Over Abortion,” The Washington Post‘s Ruth Marcus seizes on two arguments to discredit those who warn that ObamaCare will fund abortions with taxpayer funds. The arguments are:

The controversy has two dimensions: First, if a public plan is created, should abortion be among the covered services? Second, even without a public plan, should the private insurance plans available on the exchanges be allowed or required to cover abortion — even though government funds would go to subsidize some, but not all, of those obtaining insurance this way?

The only Senate measure produced so far is silent on the subject. In the House, an amendment offered by Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) nicely threads these narrow-eyed needles.

Ruth Marcus: this shouldn’t be hard to follow. Abortion is, in the United States post-Roe v. Wade, a legal health care procedure. If a bill proposing a new form of publicly-funded health insurance is “silent” on abortion, then it follows that it includes provisions for taxpayer funding of abortions.

The Capps amendment does not nicely thread anything. Instead, it segregates funds from premiums and taxpayers, and reimbursement for abortions would only come out of the premiums funds. Obviously this is merely an accounting trick. The Capps amendment, furthermore, is only attached to the House Energy and Commerce Committee bill, and is by no means guaranteed to apply to the finished bill.

These are some pretty feeble excuses to slander your opponents as “fear-mongering.” But Marcus thinks that they’re good enough, and continues:

It is hard to imagine how to craft a more sensitive approach [than the Capps Amendment] — other than telling women who purchase insurance through the exchanges entirely with their own money that they cannot obtain abortion coverage.

Then again, that would be perfectly fine with some of the critics. Others are happy to seize on any argument, however misleading, that might derail the larger enterprise.

1. Yes, it would be perfectly fine for pro-lifers if women were not able to obtain abortion coverage through the exchange. Marcus presents this as a slander, but really it follows logically if you think that human life begins before birth. It would be more intellectually honest of her to credit her opponents with continuity of thought.

2. That ObamaCare would fund abortions with taxpayer funds is not “any argument.” In fact Marcus herself says as much in this same essay. She says, in the fifth paragraph, “But I respect those who fervently believe that abortion is the taking of human life, so I am sensitive to concerns that their tax dollars not be used to pay for the procedure”

If you’re going to write an article with the sole purpose of concluding that your ideological enemies are “fear-mongers” and staking out the moral high ground for yourself, you would be better off not contradicting what you wrote merely 10 paragraphs earlier.


National Right to Life’s Douglas Johnson has an exhaustive and detailed explanation of both how the administration’s reform generally and the Capps amendment specifically would directly fund abortions here.

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