Capps Amendment

The Government, Abortion and Your Tax Dollars

Charmaine Yoest’s op-ed, “Tax Dollars Shouldn’t Fund Abortion” (op-ed, Oct. 14) blatantly misrepresents the amendment I offered to health reform legislation now before Congress.

My amendment would maintain the status quo on federal funding of abortions by extending current law forbidding federal dollars from being used to pay for abortion, except in the cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the woman.

My amendment allows plans in the Health Exchange to offer abortion coverage, but requires that those services to be paid for only out of premiums paid by consumers. No federal dollars may be used. This is the same principle currently used with Medicaid, which must follow the Hyde Amendment: No federal dollars may be used to pay for abortion services in Medicaid, but the 17 states that opt to cover the procedure can do so by paying for it with state dollars.

This is hardly a “radical departure from the status quo.” In fact, it is an extension of the status quo.

Rep. Lois Capps (D., Calif.)

Santa Barbara, Calif.


Charmaine Yoest states that the Capps Amendment “would make abortion coverage a part of the public option, funnel tax dollars to private health plans that cover abortion, and ensure that every area of the country will have at least one health insurance plan that covers elective abortion.” Ms. Yoest worries that the federal government is poised to enter “the business of funding the destruction of unborn human life.”

We’re already there. Planned Parenthood performs 62 abortions (305,310 abortions in 2008) for each adoption it facilitates. Planned Parenthood survives partly on tax dollars and government contracts that pay directly into this abortion giant’s operating fund. In the 2007-08 fiscal year, $350 million in “government grants and contracts”—those are our tax dollars—padded these controversial coffers.

Controversial choices deserve a hearty debate. Government’s intrusive fingers do not merely threaten to dictate the terms of that debate, as Ms. Yoest suggests. We are already there.

Kathryn Ciano

Arlington, Va.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Capps Amendment

  1. As I like to remind my pro-life friends, one of the biggest failures of the Bush administration on abortion was its failure to aggressively go after and defund Planned Parenthood. The Bush administration had talked a good game to social conservatives but it never truly delivered.

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