by Max Brantley
U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln seems to have reiterated today what she said yesterday. That new limits on abortion coverage in House-passed health legislation go too far.
Indeed. As this analysis shows, the proposal would effectively end abortion insuance coverage by any company that hoped to participate in expanded health insurance programs. It goes far beyond restricting government expenditures to interfere with people's decisions on how they spend their own money.
Said Lincoln through a spokesman:
“I support common sense health insurance reform that would improve women’s access to prenatal care and healthy childbearing services and believe it is important to prevent unintended pregnancies through counseling and contraception services,” said Lincoln. “Unfortunately, the House bill would impose significant new restrictions by banning private health insurance companies that wish to sell their policies through health insurance exchanges from covering abortion, as they do today, even when that coverage could only be financed through private premium dollars. I supported the Finance Committee health plan, which went to great lengths to preserve, not expand or limit, existing law that prohibits federal funding for abortion with exceptions for victims of rape and incest and when the life of the mother is at risk.”
Sen. Gilbert Baker, a Republican who'll challenge Lincoln in 2010 if he survives the Republican primary, is the first to try to capitalize on Lincoln's show of backbone. He won't be the first Republican to mischaracterize her statement as support of government spending on abortion, which it clearly is not. His statement:
Conway, Ark. – U.S. Senate Candidate Sen. Gilbert Baker has released the following comment in response to Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s statement in support for federal funding for abortion:
"This is not about adding new abortion restrictions, this is about ensuring that people who are morally opposed to abortion do not have to pay for abortion procedures. As a pro-life U.S. Senator, I would never support a measure that would use federal taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions. Sen. Lincoln's pro-abortion position does not reflect the values of the people of Arkansas."
And here's Republican Conrad Reynolds:
CONWAY - Republican United States Senate candidate Col. Conrad Reynolds (U.S. Army, Ret.) today issued the following statement after Sen. Blanche Lincoln, according to the Associated Press, told reporters "she's opposed to adding new abortion restrictions to legislation to overhaul the nation's health care system," in reference to the Stupak Amendment to H.R. 3962, which passed the House of Representatives and earned the support of all four members of Arkansas's House delegation:
"Sen. Lincoln has again chosen her liberal allies in Washington over the people of Arkansas and has confirmed just how out of touch she is. Regardless of how you feel about the merits of government-controlled healthcare, I am sure the people of Arkansas can come together - like the four Arkansas members of the House - on not using our tax dollars to pay for abortions.
With all due respect to Rep. Snyder, if you are to the left of him on an issue, you are out of touch with Arkansans. Clearly, we need to remind Sen. Lincoln of the conservative values we hold dear and demand from her that our voice be heard."