Pro-life Democrats Warn Pelosi over Health Care Bill

Olivia Offner
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Posted: Jul 02, 2009 12:08 PM
Nineteen Congressional Democrats wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, warning her that they would not support any health care reform legislation that did not specifically exclude government funding for abortion. Family Research Council was active in getting members of Congress to commit to this effort. The Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life organization that supports pro-life members of Congress, has also been alerting their members to the letter and is conducting a nationwide "Stop the Abortion Bailout!" campaign.

A key passage of the letter reads:
Without an explicit exclusion, abortion could be included in the a government subsidized heath 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.

But Michael Cannon, the Cato Institute’s director of health policy studies who has been on the front lines in the battle over the Obama health care plan, warns, “The Democrats’ demand in this letter does not go nearly far enough. If either an 'individual mandate' or an 'employer mandate' passes, Americans will eventually be forced to pay for abortions.”

The letter was signed by Rep. Dan Boren (Okla.), Bobby Bright (Ala.), Travis Childers (Miss.), Jerry Costello (Ill.), Kathy Dahlkemper (Penn.), Lincoln Davis (Tenn.), Steve Driehaus (Ohio), Tim Holden (Penn.), Paul Kanjorski (Penn.), Marcy Kaptur (Ohio), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Charlie Melancon (La.), John Murtha (Penn.), Jim Oberstar (Minn.), Solomon Ortiz (Texas), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Heath Shuler (N.C.), Bart Stupak (Mich.) and Gene Taylor (Miss).

The letter from these pro-life Democrats reads:
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 abortion, 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.

Townhall has not heard word from any Democratic pro-life senators, such as Bob Casey (PA) as to whether they will be sending a similar letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV), who claims to be pro-life himself.
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Click on the images below to read the original letter.