December 3rd, 2009
06:00 PM ET

How should Senate address abortion in regard to health care reform?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Abortion is the political hot potato that could derail health care reform entirely.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/03/art.reid.gi.jpg caption="Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid."]

It caused major disagreements in the House - and the Senate is now wrestling with how to address the issue. Democrat Ben Nelson says he will introduce an anti-abortion amendment... and that he won't vote for the health care bill unless this language gets added.

Nelson and others aren't satisfied with Majority Leader Harry Reid's current plan - that is to forbid including abortion coverage as a required medical benefit - but to allow a new government insurance plan to cover abortions and let private insurers that get federal money offer plans that include coverage for abortion.

In the House - a group of anti-abortion Democrats added restrictions that would forbid any health plan that gets federal money from paying for abortions - except in the case of rape, incest or to save the mother's life. Also under the House bill, a new government insurance plan couldn't offer abortions - and women would have to buy separate coverage for abortion services.

Women's rights groups are outraged - as they should be - and vow to keep similar language out of the Senate bill, with hundreds rallying on Capitol Hill yesterday to insist the bill allow coverage of abortion. Those opposed to the House's abortion language say it amounts to "the biggest rollback in a woman's right to choose in three decades."

Others point to the existing Hyde Law - which already prevents government money from being used for abortion, except for the cases mentioned earlier.

Here’s my question to you: When it comes to health care reform, how should the Senate address abortion?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Abortion • Health care
November 23rd, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Catholic Church denying communion to politicians who support abortion?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/23/patrickkennedy.jpg caption="Should the Catholic Church deny communion to public figures, like Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who support abortion?"]

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Catholic Church wants Democratic Congressman Patrick Kennedy to stop taking communion - due to his support of abortion rights.

The bishop of Providence, Rhode Island, says he told Kennedy in February 2007 that it would be "inappropriate" to keep receiving the Catholic sacrament.

That request is suddenly in the spotlight as the Church gets more involved in the health care debate, particularly regarding the issue of abortion. Kennedy - the nephew of this nation's only Catholic president, John F. Kennedy - revealed the bishop's request to a newspaper over the weekend.

Just last month - Kennedy had criticized the bishops for threatening to oppose the overall health care bill if it didn't include abortion restrictions. The Church called Kennedy's position "unacceptable" and "scandalous."

Rep. Kennedy is not the first Catholic politician to want it both ways. In 1984, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro came under attack from the church for not backing its position on abortion.

Kennedy's father - the late Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy - along with former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo - both Catholics - were also forced to defend their support of abortion rights.

At 30 percent, Catholics are the largest single religious group in Congress. Look for the Church to keep up the lobbying pressure on these lawmakers. When it comes to the health care bill - that could include not only abortion, but issues like immigrant rights and stem cell research.

Here’s my question to you: Should the Catholic Church deny communion to public figures who support abortion?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Filed under: Abortion • Religion
October 28th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

How should health care reform handle abortion?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

When it comes to health care reform - there are few issues that are more explosive than abortion. Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak of Michigan says he wants to make sure that taxpayer dollars do not pay for abortions. Stupak says some of his fellow Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are not happy with his public campaign to change the bill.

He says he's been working with party leaders on a compromise, but so far nothing... The congressman says if there's no vote on abortion funding - as many as 40 Democrats could vote against the health care bill in its entirety.

Over in the Senate - the Finance Committee bill contains provisions that Democrats say would keep federal money from covering abortions. But Republicans and other critics say these measures don't go far enough.

President Obama has vowed that "no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions." And, that's been the law of the land for decades. The 1976 Hyde Amendment prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions through Medicaid - except in cases of rape, incest, or medical necessity.

Meanwhile - one 2003 study found that 46 percent of insured workers had coverage for abortions. Supporters of abortion rights say that if the government bans plans that offer abortions - it would mean millions of women could lose the benefit they currently get.

One thing is for sure: Until abortion is resolved as an issue in health care reform, there won't be any.

Here’s my question to you: How should health care reform handle the issue of abortion?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Abortion • Health care