Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA), a member of the GOP leadership team at the press event yesterday, blasted Democrats for trying to pass a health reform bill with supposed funds for abortion coverage. ThinkProgress spoke to McMorris-Rodgers after the event. According to disclosure reports, McMorris-Rodgers’ state Republican Party provides health insurance through AWB Health Choice — a consortium of benefit packages including Lifewise Health Plans of Washington, which covers abortions. McMorris-Rodgers assailed the nonexistent abortion coverage in the health reform bill, while brushing aside her own campaign dollars going towards plans which cover abortion. Eventually, the congresswoman relented and admitted that her campaign dollars funding abortion coverage is “not” okay:
TP: But at the same time, Lifewise Health Plans, which is what the Washington State GOP uses to provide health insurance to their employees, they cover abortion. So when you fundraise for the Washington State GOP, aren’t you providing dollars to abortion?
MCMORRIS-RODGERS: Uh, we’re talking about federal taxpayer dollars.
TP: Yeah, but isn’t this kind of like, you know, “do as I say, but not what I do?”
MCMORRIS-RODGERS: Um, I think the issue at hand is whether or not federal taxpayer dollars should be used to fund abortion —
TP: But your fundraiser dollars are used for abortions. … But campaign dollars are okay, Republican campaign dollars that you raise?
MCMORRIS-RODGERS: No, that’s not.
McMorris-Rodger’s initial indifference to her own state party funding abortion coverage reveals the partisanship of her ploy to lie about the health bill and claim that it covers abortions. Like McMorris-Rodgers, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Newt Gingrich have health insurance plans for their campaign employees which provide abortion coverage. And until recently, even the staunchly anti-choice Republican National Committee provided abortion coverage to its employees.
The Catholic Health Association and a group of 59,000 Catholic nuns recently endorsed health reform, noting that the bill in Congress does not provide taxpayer funded abortions. Additionally, T.R. Reid, writing in the Washington Post this week, explained why anti-abortion activists should support health reform. “Increasing health-care coverage is one of the most powerful tools for reducing the number of abortions — a fact proved by years of experience in other industrialized nations.” Regardless, partisan hypocrites like McMorris-Rodgers are plowing ahead, hoping to exploit a polarizing issue to kill reform.