Will The White House budge at all on making sure specific language is inserted into health care reform bills making it crystal clear that no federal funds will be used to pay for abortions? A prominent pro-life group tried to make inroads on Thursday but they came away discouraged.
Read the release sent out tonight by Americans United for Life. Their President, Dr. Charmaine Yoest, met this afternoon with top White House officials Melody Barnes and Tina Tchen:
Today Americans United for Life Action's President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest met with senior White House officials Melody Barnes and Tina Tchen. Dr. Yoest called on the White House to clarify President Obama's recent statement of support for keeping abortion funding out of health care reform. After the meeting, Dr. Yoest stated that the White House remained noncommittal on explicit language excluding abortion from the health care bill.
"After the meeting, we remain deeply concerned about abortion funding and the abortion mandate in health care reform. Ms. Barnes reiterated the President's statement about opposing abortion funding in his address before Congress last week but the White House would not commit to language that explicitly excludes abortion from health care reform. The reality on the Hill right now is that the health care bills do include abortion funding.
Without a specific statutory amendment that includes an explicit ban on federal funding and coverage, taxpayers will be paying for abortion. Including abortion in health care is something the pro-life movement will oppose vigorously."
Dr. Yoest provided the White House with a brief from the Americans United for Life legal team that documents why anything less than a explicit ban on abortion funding and coverage will allow government-funded abortion.
Dr. Yoest also delivered a petition with over 39,000 signatures from pro-life Americans telling President Obama that they urge him to veto any bill that does not specifically forbid mandating insurance companies to cover abortion. The petition also urges the President to veto any bill that could make taxpayers responsible for directly or indirectly paying for abortion.
Look folks, The White House is in a tough spot politically. If they decide to give the pro-lifers what they want, they run the risk of major backlash from pro-choice groups who would be terribly disappointed and you can be sure they would be vocal about it. Yet if they stand firm, they run the risk of alienating pro-life and moderate Catholics who helped the President win election in places like Ohio, Pennsylvania, etc. Remember, this is NOT about pleasing pro-lifers. It's bigger than that. The polling indicates that Americans are just simply not keen on the idea of federal funds going towards abortions in any way, shape or form. While the President says the bills won't fund abortions, the language and fine details are murky at best.