|Rudy Giuliani dropped the ball on abortion on at least three occasions, but on one of his answers, he also raised a question. Giuliani said that regarding public funding of abortion, he supports the Hyde Amendment, and that the states should make the decision on public funding. He also said he supported public funding of abortion in New York (after a few "ums" and "uhs") but that other states "can come to a different conclusion." So what is the Hyde Amendment? Let's ask the ACLU:
Passed by Congress in 1976, the Hyde Amendment excludes abortion from the comprehensive health care services provided to low-income people by the federal government through Medicaid. Congress has made some exceptions to the funding ban, which have varied over the years. At present, the federal Medicaid program mandates abortion funding in cases of rape or incest, as well as when a pregnant woman's life is endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury.So Rudy supports the idea of restricting government funding of abortions for low income women through Medicaid, except in New York? Color me confused.
Most states have followed the federal government's lead in restricting public funding for abortion. Currently only seventeen states fund abortions for low-income women on the same or similar terms as other pregnancy-related and general health services. (See map.) Four of these states provide funding voluntarily (HI, MD, NY,1 and WA); in thirteen, courts interpreting their state constitutions have declared broad and independent protection for reproductive choice and have ordered nondiscriminatory public funding of abortion (AK, AZ, CA, CT, IL, MA, MN, MT, NJ, NM, OR, VT, and WV).2 Thirty-two of the remaining states pay for abortions for low-income women in cases of life-endangering circumstances, rape, or incest, as mandated by federal Medicaid law.3 (A handful of these states pay as well in cases of fetal impairment or when the pregnancy threatens "severe" health problems, but none provides reimbursement for all medically necessary abortions for low-income women.) Finally, one state (SD) fails even to comply with the Hyde Amendment, instead providing coverage only for lifesaving abortions.
And here are Rudy's headlines for tomorrow, which I'm sure his campaign won't enjoy:
CBS: Giuliani Splits With Pack On Abortion
Detroit Free Press: Giuliani alone on abortion rights issue at GOP debate
Alone among 10 Republican presidential contenders, Rudy Giuliani said in campaign debate Thursday night "it would be OK" if the Supreme Court upholds a 1973 abortion rights ruling.
"It would be OK to repeal it. It would be OK also if a strict constructionist viewed it as precedent," said the former New York city mayor, who has a record of supporting abortion rights.
NY1: On Abortion Rights, Giuliani Is Alone Among Candidates In First GOP Debate
Tyler Morning Telegraph (TX): Giuliani Says 'OK' If Supreme Court Upholds Abortion Ruling In First GOP Debate
You get the picture. The trouble for Rudy is that by tomorrow, that soundbite -- that it would be "just ok for him" to use a Randy Jacksonism, if Roe v. Wade was overturned, will be a Youtube video, then an anti-Rudy campaign commercial in the Bible Belt (Romney has the cash to do it) and a soundbite heard round the religious right world. In other words: it was a major mistake on the part of the purported frontrunner. He's been Youtubed on this before, and to his credit, he has never run from his position (I suppose the campaign has decided its better to be principled than a Romneyesque flip flopper.) But I'd guess that in the case of abortion, Romney is the one who has made the right moves. His only test will be to convince the righties that his conversion is sincere. Giuliani must convince them to accept a man who will not convert at all. Much higher bar.
Labels: 2008, 2008 election, abortion, elections, presidential candidates, Rudy Giuliani