The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

September 14, 2009

Brown aide: Health reforms won’t pay abortions costs

GENEVA — Health care reform legislation supported and co-written by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown will not provide federal dollars for abortions, Brown’s community liaison, Max Blachman, said.

Blachman fielded questions from a room full of pro-life supporters at the Geneva Public Library Monday afternoon, trying to calm fears about federally funded abortions and “death panels.”

The meeting was organized by local right-to-life supporter Kay Balish, who called the health care reform bill “dangerous to women.”

“I oppose this bill because it supports abortion and abortion is dangerous to women,” she said. “It is damaging because women could feel pressured into abortions by their families and boyfriends because then it will be ‘covered by insurance.’”

In the meeting, which began with an opening prayer, Blachman said no federal funds go to Planned Parenthood because of the Hyde Amendment, a provision barring the use of federal funds to pay for abortions.

“There is not a single provision for abortion (in the reform bill),” he said. “In fact, President Obama said there will be no federal funding of abortion. It is the intention of the people writing this bill to adhere to that.”

Balish said she opposes school-based sexual education and reproduction clinics that may give students information on abortion and is also against federal coverage of chemical contraceptives, “and any other elective procedures the government may pay for.”

Blachman said the lawmakers aren’t looking for a way to provide abortions.

“Nearly 400 Ohioans lose their health care every day because the health care system is unsustainable,” he said. “Right now we do not have the best access to health care in this country.”

A voice from the back of the crowd asked Blachman about a national system that would ration health care.

“Right now insurance companies are rationing your health care through pre-existing conditions, and dropping coverage to people who become sick or too old, or put caps on the dollar amount of care allowed,” Blachman said. “Rationing is when you have a system that says you have a limit on the care you can receive.”

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