Sen. Bob Casey: Abortion Shouldn’t Strop Congress From Passing Health Care Bill
by Steven Ertelt
July 2, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Senator Bob Casey, the self-identified pro-life Democrat from Pennsylvania, is giving pro-life advocates another reason to doubt that claim. In a new interview, Casey says that making sure abortions are not covered or paid for at taxpayer expense shouldn’t stop passage of a health care restructuring bill.
Casey’s comments in the interview with CNS News appear to put him at odds with 19 pro-life Democrats in the House who recently told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi they couldn’t support any health care bill that wasn’t abortion neutral.
Casey said he doesn’t know why Congress should debate making sure a health care bill doesn’t mandate abortion coverage.
It hasn’t been an impediment, and I don’t expect it to be and it shouldn’t be. There is no reason why in a health-care bill we have to have another debate about that issue (abortion), the senator said.
Casey later defended his own position on abortion, which has been called into question following such votes as opposing the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy, which stops funding of groups that promote and perform abortions abroad.
I think it is abundantly clear what my position is on the issue of abortion, he added.
Asked specifically if he agreed with the House Democrats who took a firm pro-life position, Casey would not tell CNS News if he would oppose any pro-abortion health care bill.
I can’t speak for what the House is doing and what members are doing in the House, but in the Senate, I don’t think that it (the abortion issue) is going to be an impediment to getting this legislation passed, he said.
As LifeNews.com reported, the group of pro-life Congressional Democrats who wrote Pelosi had no reluctance on drawing a firm line opposing abortion in health care.
"As the debate on health care reform continues and legislation is produced, it is imperative that the issue of abortion not be overlooked," they wrote. "Plans to mandate coverage for abortions, either directly or indirectly, are unacceptable."
"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," the lawmakers said. "We believe that a government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan should not be used to fund abortion."
The lawmakers agree with pro-life groups like National Right to Life, which have communicated to Congress that it will ask for opposition to any bill that does not specifically exclude abortion. Otherwise, abortions can be included at a later date.
Casey came under heavy criticism from pro-life groups when he endorsed pro-abortion President Barack Obama in last year’s elections.
And when he voted against the Mexico City Policy, that was the last straw for Catholic Bishop Joseph F. Martino of the Diocese of Scranton who took him to task for watering down his pro-life and Catholic beliefs.
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