On Sunday, Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag was asked if in the taxpayer dollars would not fund abortions in the government-funded, public health insurance plan President Obama is proposing.
"I think that that will wind up being part of the debate," Orszag said on Fox News Sunday. "I am not prepared to say explicitly that right now. It's obviously a controversial issue, and it's one of the questions that is playing out in this debate….I'm not prepared to rule it out.
Sen. Judd Gregg, R-NH, an abortion opponent, said later that "no matter what your views are on abortion, you shouldn't ask people to use their tax dollars if they think that abortion is taking a life — to use their tax dollars for those purpose — for that purpose….I would hate to see the health care debate go down over that issue. We do really need health care reform, and it has to be substantive, and it has to bend that out-year cost curve, and it has — and we've got to get a — and we have to have a system that covers everyone. So hopefully we won't get ourselves wrapped around the wheel of abortion in this debate."
It's an open question. As the New York Times points out, during her confirmation hearing, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was asked about the issue.
“Most private plans do not cover abortion services except in limited instances, but do cover family planning,” Sebelius, a supporter of abortion rights, said. “And Congress has limited the Federal Employee Health Benefit plan to covering abortion services only in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger.”
And then there's Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kansas, who was recently endorsed by Kansas for Life in his race for the GOP Senate nomination.
Speaking in opposition to taxpayer funding of abortion, Tiahrt said "if you think of it in human terms, there is a financial incentive that will be put in place, paid for by tax dollars, that will encourage women who are single parents, living below the poverty level, to have the opportunity for a free abortion. If you take that scenario and apply it to many of the great minds we have today, who would we have been deprived of? Our president grew up in those similar circumstances. If that financial incentive was in place, is it possible that his mother may have taken advantage of it?"
Tiahrt also mentioned Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as one whom might have been aborted in such a situation, depriving the world of his intellect.