A March 1 CNSNews.com article by Edwin Mora uncritically repeats the claim that "The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a 13-page document explaining why the Senate bill allows tax dollars to funded abortion," which states, "Of the two bills, only the House bill conforms to current law on abortion funding." But the bishops' statement misleads on one key claim.
The statement asserts that "Federal funds will make overall healthplans afforable for millions of new customers, who will then pay a nominal fee for full access to elective abortions -- estimated at 'not more than $1 per enrollee per month,'" further asserting that "insurers will requuire all enrollee to pay premiums for other people's abortions."
But it's not true that all enrollees would pay for abortion coverage they're not getting or subsidizing the abortions of others. As Slate's Timothy Noah explained:
If a health insurer selling through the exchanges wishes to offer abortion coverage—the federal government may not require it to do so, and the state where the exchange is located may (the bill states) pass a law forbidding it to do so—then the insurer must collect from each enrollee (regardless of sex or age) a separate payment to cover abortion. The insurer must keep this pool of money separate to ensure it won't be commingled with so much as a nickel of government subsidy.
Stupak is right that anyone who enrolls through the exchange in a health plan that covers abortions must pay a nominal sum (defined on Page 125 of the bill as not less than "$1 per enrollee, per month") into the specially segregated abortion fund. But Stupak is wrong to say this applies to "every enrollee." If an enrollee objects morally to spending one un-government-subsidized dollar to cover abortion, then he or she can simply choose a different health plan offered through the exchange, one that doesn't cover abortions.
The bishops' statement also falsely asserts that the House bill's abortion provisions -- better known as the amendment introduced by Rep. Bart Stupak -- "conforms to current law on abortion funding," i.e., the Hyde amendment blocking federal funding of abortion. In fact, the Stupak amendment goes beyond Hyde by blocking insurance companies that take part in the health care reform bill's insurance exchange from offering any abortion coverage whatsoever, even if it is paid for by the policyholders' own money.