David Gibson is at it again with more misrepresentations and distractions.
First, Gibson cites an article in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) that notes abortion rates continued to decline in Massachusetts after the state enacted its health care reform in 2006. However, the article tells us little about how enacting universal health care on the federal level will affect national abortion rates. Among things missing is the fact that there is no national data beyond 2006 that would permit us to compare Massachusetts’ abortion rate to other states. Even reading the NEJM article in the light most favorable to the author, the most that could be claimed is that national health care reform would not raise abortion rates.
Gibson also references an article by T.R. Reid claiming universal health care itself lowers abortion rates. However, the statistics Reid relies on to stake his claim are both inaccurate and incomplete. The most recent data available, from 2005, reported by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute and the Centers for Disease Control are 19.4 and 15, respectively. These figures put the United States on par with the abortion rates for Canada and Great Britain – universal health care nations listed by Reid – and are actually lower than other government-run health care countries that Reid neglects to mention, such as Australia and Sweden.
While abortion rates are declining in the United States, they are rising in parts of Europe – including Great Britain. While these nations have not altered their laws on health care coverage, many have liberalized their abortion laws, suggesting the latter is what drives abortion rates.
In addition, a Guttmacher Institute literature review released in 2009 shows strong consensus that abortion rates are reduced when public funding is restricted. The review cites 20 academic studies documenting this relationship and only four that found the results of public-funding inconclusive.
Finally, it is nothing more than a distraction to note, as Gibson does, that an organization that has “Catholic” in its name, or is comprised of Catholics, supports the bill. An organization’s support for a bill, regardless of any religious affiliation, does not change the plain language of the bill. The Senate bill violates the language of the Hyde Amendment and would, against the will of 70% of Americans, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, allow federal funds to pay for abortion.
Implicitly underlying all of Gibson’s arguments is the faulty idea that you cannot have universal health care without abortions. However, the government can choose to provide universal health care without accepting the false notion that abortion is health care – a point proved in November when the House passed its bill with the Stupak-Pitts Amendment’s funding restrictions.