First, the backdrop. In this short Fox News clip on July 17, pro-life Republican Congressman Joe Pitts (PA) explained the hidden abortion mandate in the Democrat healthcare plan.

Then came this in The New York Times, July 19…

An Obama administration official refused Sunday to rule out the possibility that federal tax money might be used to pay for abortions under proposed health care legislation.

peter o.jpg

Peter Orszag, the White House budget director, asked whether he was prepared to say that “no taxpayer money will go to pay for abortions,” answered: “I am not prepared to say explicitly that right now. It’s obviously a controversial issue, and it’s one of the questions that is playing out in this debate.”
Senator Judd Gregg, Republican of NH, who along with Mr. Orszag was asked about the issue on Fox News Sunday, said it had the potential to complicate the legislative battle over health care. “I would hate to see the health care debate go down over that issue,” Mr. Gregg said.

(Why would a Republican say that?)

Abortion has been simmering behind the scenes as an issue in legislation to guarantee access to health insurance for all Americans. The debate affects not only the public health insurance plan that Democrats want to create, but also private insurers, who would receive tens of billions of dollars of federal subsidies to cover people with low and moderate incomes.
Under the House bill, for example, most insurers would have to provide an “essential benefits package” specified by the health and human services secretary, who would receive recommendations from a federal advisory committee. Opponents of abortion want Congress to prohibit inclusion of abortion in that benefits package, while advocates of abortion rights say the package should be left to medical professionals to determine.
In an analysis of the House bill, the National Right to Life Committee said that ordinary principles of administrative law could allow the Obama administration to determine what would be included in the benefits package. “There is no doubt,” the group said, “that coverage of abortion will be mandated, unless Congress explicitly excludes abortion from the scope of federal authority to define ‘essential benefits.’ ”
Even if the health secretary did not require coverage of abortion, the group said, “federal courts would interpret the broadly worded mandatory categories of coverage to include abortion.”

Here’s that Fox News clip:

Meanwhile, most telling is Democrat-controlled Senate and House committees have rejected multiple amendments proposed by pro-lifers to explicitly exclude abortion funding from nationalized healthcare.

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