RNC: No Wire Hangers! Ever!

Turns out we have another case of the Republican party preaching one thing while practicing another.

The RNC's own health care insurance plans covers abortion!


Every Republican -- expect for one who voted "present" -- voted in favor of the anti-choice, Stupak Amendment in last weeks vote on health care reform, Politico reported yesterday that the RNC’s own employee health care plan covers elective abortion (via ThinkProgress):

Federal Election Commission Records show the RNC purchases its insurance from Cigna, and two sales agents for the company said that the RNC’s policy covers elective abortion.

As of Thursday, the RNC’s plan covers elective abortion – a procedure the party’s own platform calls “a fundamental assault on innocent human life.

[...] “The current policy has been in effect since 1991, and we are taking steps to address the issue,” Gitcho said.

[...] According to several Cigna employees, the insurer offers its customers the opportunity to opt out of abortion coverage — and the RNC did not choose to opt out.


Rethugs immediately went into overdrive responding to the news:

A spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee – the campaign arm for the House Republicans – said it does not include coverage for elective abortions in its employee insurance policy.

“The policy does not cover abortions unless the life of the mother is in danger,” the NRCC spokeswoman said.

[...] But rank-and-file Republicans said Thursday before the change was announced that the policy should – and would – be changed.

“We were not aware of this, obviously, and this will, of course, be fixed,” said James Bopp Jr., a Republican National Committeeman from Indiana. “I think Chairman Steele will see to it that that’s the case.”

Rep. Jack Kingston, a Georgia conservative, said “they need to drop that clause” from the policy or find a new one.

read more....
Too bad they can't just lay the blame for this on Michael Steele. He's such a usueful punching bag/punch line:
Informed of the coverage, RNC spokeswoman Gail Gitcho told POLITICO earlier Thursday that the policy pre-dates the tenure of current RNC Chairman Michael Steele.
The RNC was quick to take action though:
The RNC has announced that it will no longer offer employees an insurance plan that covers abortion. "Money from our loyal donors should not be used for this purpose," Chairman Michael Steele said in a statement. "I don't know why this policy existed in the past, but it will not exist under my administration. Consider this issue settled."
Turns out the RNC isn't the only conservative organization to offer abortion coverage. Focus on the Family got caught with its wire hanger wrapped tightly around its reproductive systems as well, by using an insurance company that offers similar coverage to it's members. The fact that Focus on the Family opts out of that coverage doesn't take away from the fact that their dollars go to a company the offers the procedure to others (via Time Magazine):
Does Focus on the Family Fund Abortions?

It does if you hold the organization to the same standard it uses to insist that health reform would result in
publicly funded abortions.

As it happens, Focus on the Family provides its employees health insurance through Principal, an insurance company that covers "abortion services." A Focus spokeswoman confirmed the fact that the organization pays premiums to Principal, but declined to comment on whether that amounts to an indirect funding of abortion.

Even if the specific plan Focus uses for its employees doesn't include abortion coverage--and I'm assuming it doesn't--the organization and its employees still pay premiums to a company that funds abortions. If health reform proposals have a fungibility problem, then Focus does as well. And if they don't think they do have a fungibility problem, then it would be interesting to hear why they think the set-up proposed in health reform legislation is so untenable.


The Washington Post picked up the story this morning:
The Republican National Committee's health insurance plan covers elective abortions for its employees, an option Republicans strongly oppose in health overhaul legislation that Democrats are trying to push through Congress.

Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele learned of the policy's abortion coverage Thursday through a news report and immediately instructed staff to inform the insurance carrier that the RNC wanted to opt out of elective abortion coverage, RNC spokeswoman Gail Gitcho said.

"Money from our loyal donors should not be used for this purpose," Steele said in a statement. "I don't know why this policy existed in the past, but it will not exist under my administration. Consider this issue settled."

No Wire Hangers! Ever!

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