Sebelius changes her tune on Senate abortion funding; Update: A reminder on page 2071
posted at 12:55 pm on March 8, 2010 by Ed Morrissey
The White House sent HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius onto the Sunday news shows to attempt to bolster efforts to get the nation behind the Senate version of ObamaCare. Sebelius tried to argue that there are no functional differences between the Senate and the earlier House versions regarding abortion funding, but that’s not what she told Morra Aarons-Mele from BlogHer in December, as the Senate prepared to vote on the bill. Life News catches the contradiction:
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius contradicted herself on abortion funding in the Senate health care bill in a Sunday interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Sebelius applauded the Senate language before and talked about mandatory abortion fees, but now she claims there is no funding.
Sebelius also appeared to contradict herself within the interview, saying at one point that abortion funding is a part of the government-run health care bill. …
Yet, when she spoke with ABC’s “This Week” program yesterday, she said “Yes, abortion services are provided” under the Senate health care bill.
She tried to qualify her answer by adding, “people will pay out of their own pockets, in both the Senate and the House, but they do it in slightly different ways.”
But in an interview on December 21 with Morra Aarons-Mele of the pro-abortion web site BlogHer, Sebelius praised the Senate language that funds abortions and talked about how everyone would be forced to pay for them.
“And I would say that the Senate language, which was negotiated by Senators Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray, who are very strong defenders of women’s health services and choices for women, take a big step forward from where the House left it with the Stupak amendment, and I think do a good job making sure there are choices for women, making sure there are going to be some plan options [that pay for abortions],” Sebelius said then.
I’ve mashed together the segment from ABC’s This Week and Sebelius’ BlogHer interview, which was originally noted by Verum Serum. When discussing the Senate version back in December, Sebelius went out of her way to note the contrasting treatment given abortion between the two competing versions of the bill and emphasized that the Senate version would support abortion funding:
SEBELIUS: And I would say that the Senate language, which was negotiated by Senators Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray, who are very strong defenders of women’s health services and choices for women, take a big step forward from where the House left it with the Stupak amendment, and I think do a good job making sure there are choices for women, making sure there are going to be some plan options, and making sure that while public funds aren’t used, we are not isolating, discriminating against, or invading the privacy rights of women. That would be an accounting procedure, but everybody in the exchange would do the same thing, whether you’re male or female, whether you’re 75 or 25, you would all set aside a portion of your premium that would go into a fund, and it would not be earmarked for anything, it would be a separate account that everyone in the exchange would pay.
BLOGHER: It’s a bit confusing, but …
SEBELIUS: Okay. It is a bit confusing, but it’s really an accounting that would apply across the board and not just to women, and certainly not just to women who want to choose abortion coverage.
BLOGHER: Oh, that’s good, that’s good.
Which is it, Madame Secretary? Does the Senate language do exactly what the Stupak language does, or does it allow for federal funding of abortion?
Update: My Salem colleague Greg Hengler has an answer, which he finds on page 2071 of the Senate’s ObamaCare bill: