President Obama said in an interview with ABC’s Jake Tapper that the language in the House Democrats’ health care bill that would bar taxpayer funding for abortion should be changed:
“I laid out a very simple principle, which is this is a health care bill, not an abortion bill,” Obama said. “And we’re not looking to change what is the principle that has been in place for a very long time, which is federal dollars are not used to subsidize abortions.
Saying the bill cannot change the status quo, the President said “there are strong feelings on both sides” about an amendment passed on Saturday and added to the legislation, “and what that tells me is that there needs to be some more work before we get to the point where we’re not changing the status quo.”
“I want to make sure that the provision that emerges meets that test — that we are not in some way sneaking in funding for abortions, but, on the other hand, that we’re not restricting women’s insurance choices,” he said.
The problem, as I explored in depth on the main site, is that the reason why the Stupak amendment restricts women’s insurance choices is that it restricts everybody’s insurance choices. The bill prevents individuals from purchasing insurance outside of a government-run insurance exchange and only allows them to purchase policies that have been approved by the Health Choices Commissioner. And the reason why existing restrictions on taxpayer funding for abortion need to be applied to private insurance for the first time, is that for the first time taxpayer subsidies are being used for people to purchase private insurance.