Today, a coalition of pro-life groups are inviting everyone to take part in the #BeTransparent tweetfest. The purpose of the tweetfest is to demand greater transparency about which health insurance plans – offered on the exchange – cover abortion. Research by the Charlotte Lozier Institute has found that in numerous states, information about which exchanged based insurance plans cover abortion is simply unavailable. Organizers decided to hold the tweetfest today because HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius is testifying before the U.S Senate Finance Committee on the health care exchanges.
This tweetfest will hopefully attract some favorable media coverage. Plenty has been written about the problematic rollout of the administration’s health care website. However, the lack of transparency regarding abortion coverage has attracted far less attention. This is despite the fact that the Affordable Care Act stipulates that every state must offer an insurance plan on the exchange that confines its abortion coverage to situations defined by the Hyde Amendment which are, to simplify a bit, cases of rape, incest, or where the life of the mother is in danger.
Both taxpayer funding for abortion and transparency are very good issues for pro-lifers to raise as the implementation of the Affordable Care Act continues. Polls consistently show that strong majorities of Americans oppose subsidizing abortion with taxpayer dollars. From a policy perspective – there are at least 15 peer reviewed studies which show that public funding restrictions reduce abortion rates. The Hyde Amendment which is passed every year by Congress likely saves the lives of tens of thousands of unborn children every year.
Similarly, greater governmental transparency is something that enjoys broad support among Americans of all ideological stripes. When he was running for President in 2008, President Obama pledged “to run the most transparent White House in history.” Today pro-lifers would do well to remind the President – and the media — of his promise and hold him accountable.