LIFE DIGEST: Abortion funding in health care hurts support for bill, poll says
Posted on Sep 18, 2009 | by Tom Strode
WASHINGTON (BP)--Including abortion funding significantly weakens, rather than strengthens, support for health care reform, according to a new public opinion poll.
The survey showed 43 percent of voters say they would be less likely to support President Obama's health care proposal if the federal government pays for abortions, while only 8 percent say they would be more likely to support such a plan.
In other results released by the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List:
-- 55 percent of Americans agree, while 42 percent disagree, with the following: "Whatever my opinion on the issue, I think it would wrong for the government to pay for abortions."
-- 58 percent disagree, and 38 percent agree, with the statement, "If the government is going to make a public health plan available for all Americans, it has an obligation to provide abortion services under that plan."
-- 52 percent agree, while 44 percent disagree, with the following: "I do not want the government to help fund health care plans that fund abortions."
"If the Congressional leadership and the President fall on the sword of abortion coverage, pleasing their allies and weaving it into the fabric of our daily lives, they do so at the peril of the entire bill and their own political futures," Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said in a Sept. 10 statement.
President Obama has said federal funds will not pay for abortions under his plan. The leading health care bill in the House of Representatives, however, explicitly authorizes federal funding of abortions.
Public Opinion Strategies, commissioned by the Susan B. Anthony List, conducted the survey of 800 registered voters Aug. 30 and Sept. 1. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.
HIP REPLACEMENTS AVOIDED -- British doctors have used adult stem cells to repair bones and prevent hip-replacement surgery.
Six patients have received the innovative treatment, and only one has experienced failure, physicians said, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Doctors at a Southampton hospital have used stem cells from a patient's own bone marrow to provide the treatments. The cells were mixed with "cleaned, ground-up" bone taken from a patient who had a hip replacement and placed in a cavity created by the removal of dead tissue, the British newspaper reported Sept. 1.
Stem cells provide hope for producing cures for a variety of diseases because of their ability to develop into other cells and tissues.
Embryonic stem cells have long been promoted because of their reportedly greater potential, but research with such cells has at least three major drawbacks: 1) Extracting stem cells from an embryo destroys the tiny human being; 2) embryonic stem cell research, unlike trials with adult stem cells, has yet to produce any therapies in human beings and 3) it has been plagued by the development of tumors in lab animals.
Meanwhile, trials using adult stem cells have produced therapies for at least 73 ailments in human beings, according to Do No Harm, a coalition promoting ethics in research. Among the afflictions treated by adult stem cells are cancer, juvenile diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart damage, Parkinson's, sickle cell anemia and spinal cord injuries. Procuring stem cells from adult sources does not harm the donor.
Tom Strode is Baptist Press' Washington bureau chief.