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Friends, foes of health care ruling react

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Read a Q&A on why pro-lifers oppose the law at Read our overview story on the ruling at

WASHINGTON (BP) -- Advocates and opponents of the 2010 health care law had plenty to say about the U.S. Supreme Court's decision affirming the measure's constitutionality.

Here is a sampling of comments from both sides after the opinion was announced Thursday (June 28):

-- Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Senate minority leader:

"We pass plenty of terrible laws around here that the court finds constitutional. Constitutionality was never an argument to keep this law in place, and it's certainly not one you'll hear from Republicans in Congress.

"There's only one way to truly 'fix' Obamacare, and that's a full repeal that clears the way for common-sense, step-by-step reforms that protect Americans' access to the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at a lower cost. And that's precisely what Republicans are committed to doing.

"The American people weren't waiting on the Supreme Court to tell them whether they supported this law. That question was settled two and a half years ago. The more the American people have learned about this law, the less they've liked it."

-- Nancy Pelosi, House of Representatives minority leader:

"This decision is a victory for the American people. With this ruling, Americans will benefit from critical patient protections, lower costs for the middle class, more coverage for families, and greater accountability for the insurance industry.


"In passing health reform, we made history for our nation and progress for the American people. We completed the unfinished business of our society and strengthened the character of our country. We ensured health care would be a right for all, not a privilege for the few. Today, the Supreme Court affirmed our progress and protected that right, securing a future of health and economic security for the middle class and for every American."

-- David Stevens, chief executive officer of the Christian Medical Association:

"This ruling sounds an alarm across the country to people with faith-based and pro-life convictions, to poor patients who depend on physicians with these values and to all patients who value choosing their own health care.

"Who will stop U.S. Health and Human Services political appointees from forcing employers and individuals with faith-based convictions to subsidize abortion or life-ending contraceptives and imposing huge 'faith fines' on those of us who resist? What will stop this administration, with its radical pro-abortion agenda, from further undermining conscience rights and pursuing policies that effectively force out of medicine physicians with life-honoring convictions? Who will keep government panels from effectively denying physicians and patients choice about what are the most effective and appropriate medicines, surgeries and treatments?"


-- Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice:

"The high court missed an important opportunity to rein in a runaway federal government that's determined to interject itself into every aspect of the lives of Americans. By permitting the individual mandate to stand, the high court opened the door to permitting the federal government to take more control over the lives of Americans.

"The decision to keep the health care law intact is problematic for our nation and the American people. The government-run, pro-abortion law may have survived constitutional scrutiny, but the focus now turns to November and the election."

-- Steven Aden, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund:

"ObamaCare treats American citizens like subjects. This administration has used health care law to become a dictator of conscience. The court's decision is alarming and deeply wrong. ObamaCare holds your health care hostage and offers no real choice. Either comply and abandon your religious freedom and conscience, or resist and be fined for your faith. All current ADF legal challenges to the Obama administration's abortion pill mandate will proceed, and we are confident that the Supreme Court will strike it down as unconstitutional."

-- Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List:

"From the outset, Obamacare is fundamentally flawed legislation because it makes American taxpayers complicit in the deaths of countless unborn children. Today's decision to uphold the individual mandate to force individuals to purchase health care plans that offend their conscience is incredibly disappointing.


"Over the last four years, President Obama has revealed his loyalty to the abortion industry. At no time was this clearer than during the health care reform debate, when he fought tenaciously for the largest expansion of taxpayer funding of abortion on demand since Roe v. Wade."

-- Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-choice America:

"The Affordable Care Act marks the greatest advancement for women's health in a generation. ... The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the law is a tremendous victory for American women.

"Gov. Romney and his anti-choice allies have fought tooth and nail to make it harder for women to get the health care they need. Attacking the health-care law in court was only one front in these politicians' War on Women."

-- Alethea Smith-Withers, chair of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice board of directors:

"The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice applauds the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act and its historic and life-saving advances in women's preventive health care. As people of faith committed to reproductive justice, we see this as an affirmation of our continuing struggle to expand access to reproductive health care and a victory over a health insurance system that is a moral disgrace. This decision opens wide the doors to a more compassionate and just society."

-- Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life:


The Supreme Court "failed to overturn an unconstitutional law that forcibly and unfairly intertwines all Americans and their hard-earned money with the abortion industry. . . .

"The Affordable Care Act forces an abortion agenda on the American people unlike anything seen since Roe v. Wade. Despite clear and continuing public opposition, President Obama's healthcare law contains numerous anti-life provisions and mandates. Congress must repeal these provisions and ensure that any healthcare law respects life."


Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook ( and in your email (

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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