Kathryn Lopez

The Associated Press has pointed out that the reforms would open up rivers of federal funding not bound by previous legislative restrictions relating to abortion, and Michael New, a University of Alabama professor and a visiting fellow at Princeton, has asserted that the bills' language opens the door for future regulations that would require private insurers to cover abortions.

"Few people realize that, as things stand, abortion could be a required benefit in all health-insurance plans, and it would be subsidized not only in healthcare premiums, but also through taxation," Dr. Louis Breschi, president of the Catholic Medical Association, has said.

A spokesman for Rep. Louise Slaughter, a Democrat and the chairman of the House Rules Committee, admitted to a reporter: "The starting point for Rep. Slaughter on the healthcare debate was protecting abortion rights." Groups like Planned Parenthood know what they want out of healthcare reform: a platform to ensure that American women have easy access to abortion. The Democratic powerhouse in Washington is all too eager to comply.

Differing interpretations of social justice will mean different policy prescriptions, but on the essential moral issue of life, one thing is clear: Thou shall not kill. And this principle should be central in the discussion of Obamacare. Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, put it succinctly: "We want to see people who have no health insurance get it, but this is a sticking point. We don't want healthcare reform to be the vehicle for mandating abortion."

Right now, there is absolutely nothing keeping Obamacare from mandating abortion and violating the consciences of healthcare providers who are opposed to abortion. During the campaign and the first few months of the administration, pro-lifers tried focusing Americans' attention on the sweeping Freedom of Choice Act. But it's at this moment that we're facing the possibility of a sea change in our federal government's approach to abortion. Insisting on a clear and true debate is essential if we want to prevent deadly surprises. And you don't even have to be opposed to abortion to want to know what your government is making happen with your money.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.