There is little doubt among reasonable folks that since its passage President Obama’s health care law, commonly known as Obamacare, contains multiple instances of abortion funding or subsidies. Some of the current ways we know that Obamacare subsidizes or directly funds abortion is through multi-state plans, state exchanges, high risk pools, and of course the anti-conscience mandate that forces business owners and Catholic nuns to pay for abortifacients. That could only be the tip of the iceberg as Obamacare also created numerous slush funds that are at the Health and Human Secretary’s discretion to give to abortion companies like Planned Parenthood, something they have done repeatedly already.
However that is all what we know now – what did we know at the time of passage? On one side you had groups with names like Democrats for Life and previously pro-life politicians like Senator Ben Nelson (D-Nebr.) and Rep. Bart Stupak (R-Mich.) (both since retired due to their pro-Obamacare votes) insisting there was no abortion funding in Obamacare. After the vote Senator Nelson even gave me a large notebook that he insisted proved there was no abortion funding in the health care law. (a closer look at the documents in the notebook merely showed groups like the aforementioned Democrats for Life insisting there wasn’t any abortion funding – but offering little proof.
Despite their insistence though these politicians and groups with previously stellar records hurt their reputation more than they convinced anyone that Obamacare was abortion-free. So at the time of the vote – what did pro-lifers know that others did not?
This isn’t merely a political exercise. Shortly after the 2010 elections, one of those many Members of Congress who lost their seat in Congress because of his vote for Obamacare decided to sue the organization he thought mainly responsible – Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List). Try to ignore the absurdity of a politician suing because lost his election and instead look at what the politician, former Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-esperate), is arguing. SBA List was preparing to run ads (pictured below) that said that Rep. Driehaus voted for taxpayer funded abortions. Their evidence was that he voted for Obamacare so thus voted for taxpayer funding of abortion. Rep. Driehaus actually filed a claim before the election and then refiled again after he lost.
From the SBA List press release:
In January 2013, the SBA List won its related two year court battle with Driehaus, who had also filed a defamation suit alleging that SBA List cost him his job and a “loss of livelihood,” when the district court held that SBA List’s statements about Driehaus’ vote in favor of Obamacare were not defamatory. Driehaus filed an appeal from the dismissal in February, which remains pending.
Under a most likely unconstitutional Ohio state law Rep. Driehaus sued, saying that SBA List was lying. In their defense and at the request of Doug Johnson at National Right to Life (who filed his own affidavit), I filed an affidavit with the court that argued that the health care law funds abortion. In retaliation Rep. Driehaus tried to subpoena the email records of myself, Doug Johnson and, just to prove it was a random fishing exhibition, an employee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
In a normal world one would think that a Member of Congress suing because he lost an election under the grounds he lost his livelihood would, who granted cert on Friday. Looking at the case it is more a case on free speech as it is on abortion – however proving SBA List lied would certainly hurt their case. The thing is they didn’t.
Rereading my affidavit (which I had many smarter minds helping me out on) a lot of what is now proven fact was what we were arguing before the bill was even implemented. This is true if you look at the arguments from most pro-life groups from National Right to Life, Americans United for Life, and so on. Even the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who supported government sponsored universal health care, had the same arguments on abortion funding.
In the affidavit it covers abortion in the Exchanges (pg 2, Section 8), slush funds (pg 4, Section 16), multi-state plans (pg 5, Section 17) and the abortifacient mandate (pg 5, Section 19). The affidavit also reminded me that most pro-abortion groups agreed there was abortion funding in the bill as well (pg 4. Section 15.)
So how did so many pro-lifers see the multitude of abortion funding sources and others did not? One big difference between those fighting against Obamacare and those fighting for it was that those fighting against it actually read the bill and could figure out what was in it.