Times Tries (and Fails) to Rebut Fact Obama-Care Will Pay for Abortions

Reporter Katharine Seelye quotes not one but two Planned Parenthood staffers to rebut a Family Research Council claim that taxpayers would have to pay for abortions.

Wednesday's print edition featured some boiled-down bites by reporter Katharine Seelye pulled off the nytimes.com "Prescriptions" blog covering Obama-care. And a couple carried a pro-Obama slant.

"Actual Town Hall Not Included" swiped at a "Town Hall" tool-kit being distributed by the conservative Christian group Family Research Council. The longer online version of Seelye's story is even more slanted than what made the paper:

Enjoy those health care town halls? Now, do-it-yourselfers can try one at home. Or at church.

The Family Research Council, a Christian organization, has issued an electronic "Town Hall Kit" (PDF) to help its followers, including pastors, set up their own meetings "to inform and activate the people in your pews and communities" against the health care overhaul proposals moving through Congress.


Many of the group's objections to the health insurance "scheme" being advanced by President Obama have to do with its objections to abortion.

"Americans would be compelled to pay for abortion on demand by financing insurance companies that pay for abortion services," it says. It also says Americans would be compelled to finance Planned Parenthood, "the leading provider of abortion in the nation," and to "pay for abortifacient contraceptives."

Politifact.com, a Web site that tries to fact-check such assertions, says that while "it appears likely" that most of the bills moving through Congress "would allow for the coverage of abortions, we don't see anything in the plans that would require taxpayers to foot the bill for that."

But that is contradicted by Douglas Johnson, legislative director forNational Right to Life, in an August 5 Associated Press report by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar. Johnson called the rationale a "sham" and "a bookkeeping scheme. The plan pays for abortion, and the government subsidizes the plan."

Seelye then quoted both a spokesman and the president of Planned Parenthood to dispute FRC's assertion, letting Planned Parenthood have the last word, accusing FRC of trying to deprive women of health care.