In a classic of Western Literature, the epic poem the Inferno by Dante Alighieri depicts the pit of hell as a series of descending circles, and as Dante travels from the uppermost circles to the very lowest, he encounters an ever worsening degree of sinner – from Limbo, to the merely lustful at the top, to the murderous betrayers with Satan himself at the very center of the lowest most level.
This is perhaps an apt analogy of our current healthcare bill. Certain provisions are found wanting, like requiring everyone to purchase insurance whether they want it or not, to the failure to contain costs and provide tort reform, moving down to the nefarious trillion dollar price tag.
But lowest level of this legislative and bureaucratic hell contains the assault on the human conscience through the bills funding of abortion – this stands as the bills ninth circle, it’s most despicable and unwarranted provision. Up until now, there has been a general understanding in Congress that while abortion might be legal, it could certainly still be seen by reasonable persons as morally wrong, and so Congress has specifically made provisions when necessary to prevent public dollars from going to fund abortions. It has done so because it has been widely understood that respect for the human conscience, a core principle of American governance, is a critical aspect of governance.
To that end Bart Stupak, the Democratic Representative from Michigan, offered his amendment, heretofore known as the ‘Stupak amendment”. The amendment reads in part:
(a) IN GENERAL –
No funds authorized or appropriated by the Act (or amendment made by this Act) may be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion, except in the case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unleass an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, or unless the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.
The rest can be read