- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 22, 2009

So much for Sen. Ben Nelson’s “line in the sand” against government funding for abortion.

“I don’t ordinarily draw a line in the sand, but I have drawn a line in the sand,” the Nebraska Democrat said on Dec. 4, promising he wouldn’t vote for government health care if it paid for abortion. Mr. Nelson’s principles barely lasted two weeks. By Saturday, he announced that he would provide the 60th vote needed to pass government care. The man’s word is meaningless.

Mr. Nelson’s capitulation was not over whether to ban abortion outright. The senator sold his soul to give government the power to force millions of taxpayers to pay for a procedure they view to be murder. Activists in favor of abortion “choice” don’t respect that those who oppose abortion want to be free to choose what their money should be used to support - especially when major moral issues about life and death are involved.

The current prohibition on government funding for abortion made exceptions for when a woman’s life purportedly was in danger or when the pregnancy purportedly was a result of rape or incest. If passed, the new law will charge an “abortion premium” tax on all Americans that forces everyone to fund abortions. The only escape will be if individual states pass opt-out provisions to the program, which will be difficult to implement.

On Page 41 (lines 5-8) of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s manager amendment, the proposed rules mandate that everyone buying insurance through new exchanges or through the new government-run plan must pay a monthly abortion premium to be used for elective abortion services. This fee applies “without regard to the enrollee’s age, sex or family status.” That means that people who have no possibility of wanting an abortion themselves will pay for others to have them. On Page 43 (lines 1-7), insurance companies will be required to assess the cost of elective abortion coverage, and on Page 43 (lines 20-22) they are mandated to charge a minimum of at least $1 per enrollee per month to cover abortion.

Rep. Bart Stupak, the Michigan Democrat who led a House revolt against abortion funding, calls the Senate language “a dramatic shift in federal policy.” The type of amendment approved by Mr. Nelson was voted down in the House.

Many Americans wanted to believe Mr. Nelson was a decent man of his word, but the senator caved in when his vote could have made a difference for the lives of the unborn. A politician can’t get any more despicable than that.