None of the health-reform bills before Congress mandate abortion coverage in a potential public plan. Rather, they kick that ball down the field, allowing a council of experts -- after reform passes -- to advise the Health and Human Services secretary on what procedures should and shouldn't be covered. Yet continuing its campaign to use the abortion issue to kill health reform, the Family Research Council will be airing this TV ad in five states with swing senators: Pennsylvania (Arlen Specter and Bob Casey), Arkansas (Blanche Lincoln), Alaska (Mark Begich), Louisiana (Mary Landrieu), and Nebraska (Ben Nelson).
What this ad doesn't tell you is that behind the scenes, religious-right groups are lobbying Congress to ban all abortion coverage within the health-insurance exchanges, even abortions covered by private insurers. Another tactic of abortion opponents is to use health reform as a vehicle for cutting off federal funding to Planned Parenthood, which currently uses tax dollars to provide basic preventive gynecological care, contraceptives, and sex-ed to poor women and girls. (The group is already banned from using federal funds to pay for abortions.) So Planned Parenthood has been running its own national TV ad:
Sadly, the Planned Parenthood ad just doesn't pack the same punch, because it doesn't tell viewers Planned Parenthood's mission is under threat in the health-reform debate -- or ask them to do anything.