The Dumb and Confusing Reid/Angle Exchange on Abortion Last Night

My head is spinning, there is so much wrong with this Harry Reid/Sharron Angle debate exchange on health reform and abortion. First, let's review what was said.

Mitch Fox, Moderator: Thank you, this is a straight up yes or no question, Mrs. Angle, you’ll get it first. Do you think the health care reform act should include coverage for abortions?

Angle: No.

Moderator: Senator Reid?

Reid: The law we passed maintained the Hyde amendment.

Moderator: That would be a yes or no?

Reid: Uh, under the law, that exists today, the Hyde amendment which has been the law in this country for thirty years is still there.

Obviously Reid's answer was evasive and incomprehensible to the average American who has no idea what the Hyde Amendment is. 

But Fox's question was also uninformed and misleading. He asked the Senate candidates what they "think" about whether health reform "should" include abortion coverage. This totally ignores what the health reform law actually says: that women who gain coverage through the new exchanges and expansion of Medicaid may not use their federal funding to purchase any insurance plan that includes abortion coverage. 

Therefore, the bill–which has already been passed–does not expand access to insurance coverage of abortion. Yet by phrasing the question in this way, Fox buys into the Sarah Palin-promoted lie that health reform represents a massive pro-choice victory.

What's more, we already know very well what Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid thinks of abortion rights. He doesn't always support them. Reid has voted to maintain the abortion ban for women serving in the military, and has consistently voiced support for the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal Medicaid dollars from funding abortion. "The Hyde amendment has been a pretty good way to go," he said last year.

Translation: Harry Reid does not believe poor women have the same right to an abortion as middle class and affluent women. His negotiations on health reform made sure to enshrine and expand this concept.

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