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ABC Concedes ObamaCare Could Include Taxpayer Funding of Abortion

During Thursday's World News with Charles Gibson, ABC correspondent Kate Snow held open the possibility that some ObamaCare opponents are correct in their belief that universal health care will include taxpayer funding of abortion, although she characterized the truth as "unclear," during a "Reality Check" during which she brought up the likelihood that taxpayer funding would be used to purchase private health insurance plans that cover abortion. Snow:

Will health care reform lead to taxpayer-funded abortions? Unclear. Current law states federal funds cannot be used for abortions except in the cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother. But under health care reform, lower income Americans would have their health care subsidized by the government, and they will be allowed to pick a health plan that covers abortion.

She also informed viewers that at least one alternative plan would try to separate tax dollars from abortion funding - she contended that "it might not be the easiest thing to regulate, keeping public and private money separate," but she also cited "experts" who say that such a plan "could work." Snow:

One version of the House reform bill would allow health plans to cover abortions as long as they were paid for entirely with private funds. It might not be the easiest thing to regulate, keeping public and private money separate, but experts say it could work.

Below is a complete transcript of the story from the Thursday, August 13, World News with Charles Gibson:

CHARLES GIBSON: And at the town hall meetings, the subject of abortion is often mentioned. Many questioners maintaining that reform would put the government in the business of paying for abortions. Well, are they right? As we continue fact checking the health care battle, Kate Snow looks at the questions surrounding abortion.

KATE SNOW: Senator Arlen Specter was asked about abortion at a town hall meeting this week.

SENATOR ARLEN SPECTER (D-PA): Young lady, you have the floor.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Thank you. I do not want to pay on a health care plan that includes the right for a woman to kill her unborn baby. Is it true that this plan is in the health care bill?

SNOW: The basic question there, is the right to abortion included in health care reform? The facts, the original bills in both the House and Senate never explicitly addressed the subject, but that doesn't mean it doesn't come up.

UNIDENTIFEID MAN: I'm referring to section 1714 that talks about family planning services. All right? Starts on page 769.

SNOW: He's not wrong. Section 1714 does talk about family planning for women on Medicaid. It will allow states to counsel or provide abortion, using state money. But could federal money be used toward abortion? That is the question that comes up most often at those town hall meetings.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I'm talking about taxpayer-funded abortion. We have to pay for it, okay, whether we agree with it or not.

SNOW: Will health care reform lead to taxpayer-funded abortions? Unclear. Current law states federal funds cannot be used for abortions except in the cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother. But under health care reform, lower income Americans would have their health care subsidized by the government, and they will be allowed to pick a health plan that covers abortion. The President has said the government should not pay for it.

BARACK OBAMA: You know I'm pro-choice. But I think we also have a tradition of, in this town, historically, of not financing abortions as part of, you know, government-funded health care.

SNOW: One version of the House reform bill would allow health plans to cover abortions as long as they were paid for entirely with private funds. It might not be the easiest thing to regulate, keeping public and private money separate, but experts say it could work. What version of the House bill may end up being the final version, but frankly we just don't know yet, and, of course, the Senate is working on its own version. So, the bottom line is, we don't know yet if taxpayers could end up funding abortions. It is up to the members of Congress, Charlie, and the President.

GIBSON: All right, Kate Snow reporting, fact-checking again tonight.

-Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.