Needed pro-life protections in potential healthcare legislation

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

The right approach to healthcare policy is a matter on which reasonable people can disagree and is an issue that falls outside the ERLC’s mandate and charge as an organization. But while Southern Baptists hold a variety of views about healthcare policy, including the appropriate role of government, we are nevertheless united in advocating for healthcare policies which affirm human dignity and affirm the ways that Christians and people of conscience have contributed to the practice of medicine in the United States.

Accordingly, we believe any healthcare legislation considered by the Congress must do three things: redirect government funds from Planned Parenthood, ensure that no taxpayer funding is used for abortion services, and protect the consciences of medical professionals who may be otherwise required to act against their moral convictions in the course of their jobs.

Congress is currently considering a major overhaul of the Affordable Care Act; whatever comes from the Senate negotiations and the conference discussions, the ERLC maintains three priorities:

1. Defund Planned Parenthood and Redirect Funds to FQHCs

Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the United States. Investigative journalism has demonstrated that Planned Parenthood sells the body parts of aborted babies to research facilities and works to expand the market for baby parts. In spite of this, Planned Parenthood receives almost a half billion dollars in taxpayer money every year. Since government funding makes up 40 percent of Planned Parenthood’s revenue each year, ending this government funding has been a longstanding pro-life goal.

Planned Parenthood targets underprivileged areas for its abortion and contraception services, and provides other incidental medical services. However, Federally Qualified Health Centers provide a much wider range of health services and much broader geographic coverage. FQHCs also differ from Planned Parenthood in that they do not provide abortion service. Redirecting money to FQHCs would allow women to continue receive the health care they need, even with a reduced number of Planned Parenthood facilities.