For suggestions on how you can take immediate and effective action on this issue, scroll to the bottom of this update.
WASHINGTON (Updated October 14, 2009) – Both houses of Congress are pushing towards votes on sweeping "health care reform" bills that currently contain far-reaching pro-abortion provisions -- perhaps as early as the week of October 26, or in early November.
Despite public statements by President Obama that "no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions," all of the major bills under consideration would put the federal government into the business of subsidizing elective abortion on a huge scale -- which would be a drastic break from longstanding federal policy.
The bills are being pushed hard by President Obama and by top Democratic congressional leaders, including pro-abortion House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.). The Democrats hold majority control of both the House and the Senate, occupying about three-fifths of the seats in each house.
In the House of Representatives, three committees have approved a massive bill (H.R. 3200) after voting down NRLC-backed amendments to prevent the bills from mandating coverage of abortions and to prevent federal subsidies for abortions, as only a few Democrats joined the minority Republican members in support of the amendments.
On one of those three committees, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the pro-abortion side narrowly won adoption of a "phony compromise" amendment written by staff to Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Ca.) and offered by Rep. Lois Capps (D-Ca.). (Both Waxman and Capps have solidly pro-abortion career records.) The Capps-Waxman Amendment would explicitly authorize coverage of all elective abortions under a new nationwide insurance plan run by the federal government (the "public plan"), and also would allow federal subsidies to flow to private insurance plans that cover elective abortions.
The pro-abortion members of the committee voted down an NRLC-backed amendment offered by Reps. Bart Stupak (D-Mi.) and Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) to prohibit federal subsidies from going to plans that cover elective abortions. Congressman Stupak has vowed that he will demand a vote on the pro-life amendment on the House floor, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Ca.) and other top House Democratic leaders have indicated that they do not intend to allow the House to vote on such an amendment.
Pelosi and other top Democratic House leaders are currently crafting a revised version of H.R. 3200, behind closed doors, which they will attempt to bring to the House floor as soon as they think they have secured sufficient votes to pass it. No House Republican has yet endorsed the legislation, which means that it cannot pass if as few as 40 of the 256 House Democrats withhold support from it.
Meanwhile, in the Senate, two committees have approved sweeping health care bills. Senate Majority Leader Reid and a handful of Democratic senators, in consultation with the White House, are now creating a combined bill behind closed doors, which Reid says he hopes to bring to the Senate floor as early as the week of October 26. Since both of the committees rejected all pro-life amendments, it is certain that the Reid bill will contain pro-abortion components. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and other pro-life senators will seek to remove the pro-abortion elements through amendments on the Senate floor.
The two bills that are now to be combined are the "Affordable Health Choices Act" (S. 1679), approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee on July 15, and the "America's Healthy Future Act" (as yet unnumbered), approved by the Senate Finance Committee on October 13.
"The bill approved by the Senate HELP Committee would result in the greatest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade," said NRLC Legislative Director Johnson. "It would result in federally mandated coverage of abortion by nearly all health plans, federally mandated recruitment of abortionists by local health networks, and nullification of many state abortion laws. It would also result in federal funding of abortion on a massive scale."
The Senate Finance Committee also contains an array of pro-abortion provisions, including language authorizing new federal subsidies to help pay for private health plans that cover elective abortions.
Obtaining broad federal subsidies for abortion as part of “health care reform” is currently the top priority of many pro-abortion organizations, such as the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). These organizations are pushing for the abortion mandates both in public statements and in less visible lobbying efforts. In April, the president of PPFA said that her organization intends to use the health care legislation as a "platform" to guarantee "access" to abortion to "all women." Likewise, the National Abortion Federation, an association of abortion providers, said, "NAF supports health care reform as a way to increase access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion care, for all women."
On July 17, 2007, during Barack Obama's campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, he appeared before the annual conference of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Speaking of his plans for "health care reform," Obama said, "in my mind, reproductive care is essential care. It is basic care, and so it is at the center and at the heart of the plan that I propose." He stated that, "What we're doing is to say that we're going to set up a public plan that all persons and all women can access if they don't have health insurance. It'll be a plan that will provide all essential services, including reproductive services." Under his plan, Obama explained, people could choose to keep their existing private health care plans, but "insurers are going to have to abide by the same rules in terms of providing comprehensive care, including reproductive care ... that's going to be absolutely vital." (You can view a video of Obama's remarks here. You can view a review of what Obama said by the independent group Politifact.com here.
NRLC has actively challenged misinformation about the health care bills in newspapers and websites across the land. To see some recent examples, "They Say, We Say," click here.
To view or download a two-page summary of key points, click here (PDF file). To view a memorandum explaining why the current law called the Hyde Amendment will not prevent government funding of abortion under H.R. 3200, click here. To view a memorandum rebutting the myth that only "private" funds would be used to pay for the abortions, click here.
What You Can Do Now
* Please take a few minutes to use the form here to send messages to your two U.S. senators and to your representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, to urge them to oppose the health care bills backed by the White House because they would create a new government insurance plan that would cover abortion, and would provide subsidies to private health plans that provide abortions. You can modify the suggested message as you see fit. When you fill in your mailing address, your messages will automatically be directed to the appropriate U.S. House member and to your two U.S. senators.
* In addition, please TELEPHONE the offices of your two U.S. senators, give your name and address, and tell the senators' staff persons that you wish to be recorded as "opposed to the health care bills that have been crafted by the two Senate committees, because both bills contain pro-abortion provisions, including subsidies for insurance plans that cover elective abortion." The offices of any U.S. senator can be reached through 202-224-3121. Also, please TELEPHONE the office of your U.S. House member, give your name and address, and inform the staff person that you wish to be recorded as "opposed to the health bill backed by the White House, H.R. 3200, because it would create a government health plan that would cover abortion, and because it would provide massive subsidies that could be used to purchase private health insurance plans that cover abortion." You can reach any U.S. House member's office through 202-225-3121. You can also find the direct-dial numbers (and fax numbers) for the Washington and in-state offices of your U.S. senators and U.S. House member by calling up their individual profiles on this website, here.
* Also, please send short letters to the "letters to the editor" features of your local newspapers, in order to alert your fellow pro-life citizens to the pro-abortion policies that the Obama White House and the pro-abortion lobby are trying to smuggle into law through "health care reform." You can find contact information for your local news media in our "Media Guide" here. You can get a two-page summary of key points here.
(Taken from Action Alert at http://www.nrlactioncenter.com/)
North Carolina Right to Life (NCRTL), as the state affiliate of National Right to Life (NRLC), urges all North Carolinians to take seriously this alert and to take action, especially by contacting Senator Kay Hagan, a member of the H.E.L.P. committee who voted against the NRLC amendments which NCRTL also supported. Use the form at the link provided to send her a message that you want abortion explicitly excluded from any health care bill.