U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, an anti-abortion Democrat who voted for the health care overhaul measure, has a litany at the ready to explain how the overhaul bars federal funding for abortion.
"Any claim to the contrary is just flat out false," the Minnesotan said Tuesday.
But Oberstar, of Minnesota's Iron Range, has heard lots of claims to the contrary, including from U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. Last weekend, Bachmann was asked "if abortion was in the health care bill, she replied with an unwavering, "Yes!," according to WDIO.com. Bachmann went on: "Unfortunately Congressman Jim Oberstar violated his pro-life pledge. We now have federally funded abortion for the first time in the history of our country.
But Oberstar says that is simply not true. Here are the four ways the health care law bars federal funding for abortion, Oberstar gave:
"Abortion is prohibited under the legislation that we enacted. The community health centers provision... is covered under title 42 U.S. Code, Public Law 96-86 of Oct. 12 1979 *[See below], which prohibits use of funds under this title for performing abortion except for the three conditions of the Hyde amendment, which is ensconced in public law. Secondly, the conscience clause provisions that have been added to public law apply to this legislation. Third, the Secretary of Health and Human Services has issued a statement referencing title 42 U.S. Code and the code of federal regulations, which implements that provision and for which the stimulus funding was applied, that is the prohibition on abortions in those community health centers that receive stimulus funding. Fourth, the president signed an executive order enforcing and directing the enforcement of Title 42 U.S. Code and the code of federal regulations governance and that just settles the issue. Federal funding will not be used for abortion."
"There's been just such misrepresentation about this issue that it has to be said again and again. Any claim to the contrary is just flat out false," he said emphatically. "I know. I was there. I voted for that law and I was its co-author."
Oberstar and Bachmann may be making their contrasting claims for a long time to come as the fight continues over health care.
*It appears the Congressman actually conflated two things with his citation -- Public Law 96-86, which is the Hyde amendment and 42 U.S. Code 50.301 through 50.306, which codifies the Hyde amendment.