Obama, Pelosi, Reid Launch Final Push
to Enact Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill
WASHINGTON (February 25, 2010)--At NRL
News deadline on February 25, President Obama and top Democratic
congressional leaders are launching a final all-out effort to pass
massive health care restructuring legislation that incorporates an
array of pro-abortion federal subsidies and mandates.
The Senate passed the pro-abortion
legislation (H.R. 3590) on December 24. However, so far the White
House and Democratic leaders have been unable to muster the votes to
pass it in the House of Representatives, partly because of
resistance to the pro-abortion provisions among pro-life Democrats,
led by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mi.), and by NRLC and others.
The White House game plan was seriously
disrupted on January 19, when Republican Scott Brown captured the
U.S. Senate seat that had been held for decades by Senator Ted
Kennedy (D-Mass.). The outcome was widely viewed as a reflection of
public opposition to the sweeping approaches to health care
restructuring that the Obama Administration and top congressional
Democrats have made a top priority.
Nevertheless, President Obama and the
top leaders of his party on Capitol Hill have regrouped and are
going all out to try to push the legislation into law. "We will pass
a bill," vowed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) on February 22.
Democrats currently control the 435-member House by a 77-seat
Last November, the House removed
pro-abortion provisions from its own version of health care
legislation, H.R. 3962, by adopting an NRLC-backed amendment offered
by Stupak and Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.). The Stupak-Pitts Amendment
passed 240–194, with support from 64 Democrats--one-fourth of all
the House Democrats--and all except one Republican. But Obama
opposed the Stupak language, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
(D-Nv.) led a successful effort to keep it out of the Senate bill,
"The scope of the pro-abortion
provisions in the Senate bill have been vastly understated by the
mainstream news media," said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas
Johnson. "By the conclusion of the amending process in the Senate,
H.R. 3590 was the most expansive pro-abortion piece of legislation
ever to reach the floor of either house of Congress for a vote,
since Roe v. Wade. The Senate bill would allow direct federal
funding of abortion on demand through Community Health Centers,
would institute federal subsidies for private health plans that
cover abortion on demand--including some federally administered
plans--and would authorize federal mandates that could require even
non-subsidized private plans to cover elective abortion."
A 13-page analysis of the Senate bill
sent to Congress by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
on January 20 said that under the premium subsidy program "federal
subsidies will be used to help expand access nationwide to abortion
coverage," and that a provision dealing with Community Health
Centers "seems to create a new and expansive funding stream for
health care services, not covered by any restraint on use of the
funds for elective abortions."
Since December, NRLC lobbyists and state
affiliates have concentrated on educating members of the House,
particularly Democratic lawmakers who oppose federal promotion of
abortion, regarding the multiple pro-abortion components in the
Senate bill. A January 14 letter from NRLC to U.S. House members,
explaining the multiple pro-abortion components of the Senate-passed
bill, is posted here:
On February 22, in an attempt to
jumpstart the stalled legislation, President Obama released a list
of proposed changes to the Senate bill. "The President's proposed
changes would not fix any of the abortion problems," Johnson said.
Richard Land, president of the Ethics &
Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist
Convention, expressed opposition to the legislation on several
grounds, noting that it "provides totally inadequate protections
against taxpayer funds being used to pay for abortions. . . . You
can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig."
In an interview with Fox News on
February 24, Stupak said that the Senate abortion language was
"unacceptable." In other interviews, Stupak predicted that 10 or
more House Democrats who voted to pass the House health care bill in
November would refuse to support the Senate-passed bill, even with
the changes recommended by President Obama, because of the
NRLC's Johnson predicted that this group
of lawmakers will come under increasing pressure from the White
House and from Speaker Pelosi during the weeks ahead. "They need to
receive encouragement from constituents who want them to hold fast
and refuse to support the pro-abortion Senate bill, no matter what
claims, promises, or threats come down from the White House or the
Democratic leadership," Johnson said.
The Obama-backed legislation would also
would force rationing of lifesaving medical treatment (see story on
page ** of this issue).
Action Needed Now!
The legislative situation can change rapidly. For the most up to
date information, visit
www.nrlactioncenter.com frequently. This NRLC website has tools
to make it easy for you to send timely messages to those who
represent you in Congress.
During March and April, the top priority is to urge members of the
House of Representatives, especially House Democrats, to oppose the
Senate-passed health care legislation backed by President Obama,
While it is also good for U.S. senators
to receive such communications, the Senate already approved the bill
last December. (The Senate might soon take up a second bill, a
so-called "reconciliation" bill, that would adjust some provisions,
but this bill will not correct the pro-abortion provisions in H.R.
If the House approves H.R. 3590, it will
go straight to President Obama, who will promptly sign it into law.
Therefore, the urgent priority is that House members receive
encouragement from constituents to oppose the bill.
The office of any U.S. House member can
be reached by telephone, through the Capitol Switchboard,
202-225-3121. If you do not know who represents you in the House,
just tell the Capitol Switchboard operator your zip code, and you
will be connected with the correct office. Once you are connected,
register your strong opposition to the Senate-passed health bill,
H.R. 3590. Ask the lawmaker's staffperson to take down your
address--say that you would like to receive a written explanation of
the lawmaker's position on the bill.
you will find guidance on additional ways to communicate with your
representatives, and links to their voting records on key pro-life