Getting a public option on health care through Congress is going to be tough enough but now 19 pro-life Democrats have come out and said they won't support a public option if abortions or abortion related services are covered under the government run option. They sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The letter was signed by the following Democrats:
Reps. Dan Boren (D-OK); Bart Stupak (D-MI); Colin Peterson (D-MN); Tim Holden (D-PA); Travis Childers (D-MS); Lincoln Davis (D-TN); Heath Shuler (D-NC) Solomon Ortiz (D-TX); Mike McIntyre (D-NC); Jerry Costello (D-IL); Gene Taylor (D-MS); James Oberstar (D-MN); Bobby Bright (D-AL); Steve Driehaus (D-OH); Marcy Kaptur (D-OH); Charlie Melancon (D-LA); John Murtha (D-PA); Paul Kanjorski (D-PA); and Kathleen Dahlkemper (D-PA).
Let's face it. This strong showing of support among pro-life Democrats in essence will torpedo any chance of abortion services being included in the final bill. Pelosi needs these 19 votes. If the President really wanted to extend an olive branch to pro-life conservatives regarding his common ground approach to abortion, he could come out and tell Congress not to include abortion coverage in the government plan. Think he'll do that? Umm....too bold...too risky...he won't alienate his pro-choice base. The upside isn't big enough.
You can read the letter below.
Dear Honorable Pelosi:
As the debate on health care reform continues and legislation is produced, it is imperative that the issue of abortion not be overlooked. Plans to mandate coverage for abortions, either directly or indirectly is unacceptable.
We believe in a culture that supports and respects the right to life and is dedicated to the protection and preservation of families. Therefore, we cannot support any health care reform proposal unless it explicitly excludes abortion from the scope of any government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan. We believe that a government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan, should not be used to fund abortion.
Furthermore, we want to ensure that the Health Benefits Advisory Committee cannot recommend abortion services be included under covered benefits or as part of a benefits package. Without an explicit exclusion, abortion could be included in a government subsidized health care plan under general health care. The health care reform package produced by Congress will be landmark, and with legislation as important as this, abortion must be addressed clearly in the bill text.
Furthermore, funding restrictions save lives by reducing the number of abortions. The Guttmacher Policy Review, a leading pro-choice research organization noted “that about one third of women who would have had an abortion if support were available carried their pregnancies to term when the abortion fund was unavailable.”
Thank you for taking the time to consider our request. By ensuring that abortions are not funded through any health care reform package, we will take this controversial issue off the table so that Congress can focus on crafting a broadly-supported health care reform bill.