"While advocating the passage of legislation that provides comprehensive healthcare coverage, pro-life Christians must also insist that the final bill explicitly prohibit government subsidies for abortion. The current Senate version does not include the restrictions of the Stupak-Pitts amendment passed by the House, and includes provisions that could result in expanding the availability of abortions," said the ESA.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, agreed that the House vote is critical. "Make no mistake. The success or failure of this bill hinges on taxpayer-funding of abortion … If the pro-life House members believe they can vote for the Senate bill (which includes taxpayer-funded abortion) and then count on the upper chamber to use the reconciliation process to strip out that funding, they're denying reality," Perkins said.
Tom McClusky of FRC Action said that abortion is definitely in the Senate bill, pointing out specific sections of the Senate bill that discuss abortion. The bill also increases funding for community health centers, without explicitly prohibiting the use of funding for abortions.
Faith in Public Life (FPL) addresses both concerns as part of its "fact checking" of the bill. In one post, FPL stated that the Hyde amendment would prohibit any community health center from using federal funding for abortions. FPL also posted a report by Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, a health law expert at Washington and Lee University School of Law.
"There are significant differences between the House and Senate bill," wrote Jost, "but the provisions governing abortion (Sec. 1303 of the Senate bill, pp. 2069-2078) are not among them. Both bills prohibit federal funding of abortions."
Va. Governor's Discrimination Flip-Flop
Virginia's newly-elected Republican Governor Bob McDonnell was hailed by conservatives, who saw hope in the election of the Regent University alumnus in a state that broke for President Obama in 2008. McDonnell was so esteemed by his Republican colleagues that he was chosen to give the Republican response to Obama's State of the Union speech.
This week, the attorney general of Virginia sent a letter to colleges and universities that they could not include "sexual orientation" as part of their nondiscrimination policies.
"The new administration in Virginia has wasted no time taking on the biggest sacred cow of the politically correct public university crowd—the inclusion of 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity' in so-called 'non-discrimination' policies," said Bruce Hausknecht of Focus on the Family Action.
But Hausknecht apparently spoke too soon.
On Thursday, McDonnell reversed the order, telling government agencies that employment "discrimination based on factors such as one's sexual orientation or parental status violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution."
The AFA's Fischer called McDonnell's action "a sudden moral and leadership collapse." "So another self-proclaimed conservative suddenly and dramatically goes from supporting conservative values to launching a witch-hunt for any state worker who would dare to uphold them in the workplace, declaring that he will bring the full force of state power down on the head of any such unfortunate soul," he said. "All of this, you see, in order to punish state workers for sticking up for the very values that put him in the governor's seat."