A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Abortion and the Health Care Bills


If you don’t keep your eye on the health care overhaul bills making their way through Congress, it’s easy to find your knowledge quickly outdated. We posted an article Friday dealing with accusations by some conservative groups that the bills would mandate government-funded abortions (they wouldn’t). That very evening, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a new bill. Government-funded abortions still wouldn’t be possible under this version – in fact, it’s the only bill that explicitly prohibits the use of taxpayer money to pay for the procedure, except in cases of rape or incest or if the mother’s life is at risk – but the new measure adds some wrinkles to the debate. We have, therefore, updated our story to stay on top of the developments.

There are now two main overhaul measures pending in the House, one from the Ways and Means Committee that was passed in mid-July and this latest one, plus a smaller number of provisions passed by the Education and Labor Committee. To make things extremely difficult for reporters and others trying to keep up, they all have the same bill number. Lawmakers and their staffs will spend much time in the coming weeks trying to fashion one bill out of the often overlapping and contradictory parts. They’ll also be in touch with their colleagues in the Senate, where a bill has passed the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and one from the Finance panel is expected.