Pro-Life Advocates Fret Over Surgeon General’s Reach on Abortion, Health Care

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 15, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Advocates Fret Over Surgeon General’s Reach on Abortion, Health Care

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 15
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Leading pro-life advocates are concerned about the extended reach the Surgeon General could have on determining whether the health care restructuring bills Congress is considering could force taxpayers to fund abortions or mandate abortion coverage via insurance.

Those worries are heightening the concern about President Barack Obama’s nomination of Alabama physician Regina Benjamin as the next Surgeon General.

Given her affiliation with a pro-abortion group and comments from White House officials, Benjamin, although a strong Catholic, appears to back abortions.

Congress is currently considering a handful of health care reform bills that will eventually be combined into one package that will be sent to Obama for his signature. The bills currently set up the decision-making for inclusion of abortion with the federal government, specifically with the Surgeon General.

That worries Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League.

"Some things are developing very quickly that will test her mettle right away," he said in comments received.

"To begin with, at the same news conference that the president used to announce his choice of Dr. Benjamin, he pushed hard for a new health reform bill. Indeed, he let the Senate Finance Committee know that he wants a bill by week’s end. A central issue is whether abortion services will be mandated as part of the plan," Donohue explained.

Donohue referenced a letter from House Democrats who told Nancy Pelosi they will not vote for healthcare reform “unless it explicitly excludes abortion funding” from the plan.

He also cited analysis from Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, who says the health care bills Congress is considering “contain multiple provisions that would result in federally mandated insurance coverage of abortion on demand, massive federal subsidies for abortion, mandated creation of many new abortion clinics, and nullification of at least some state limitations on abortion.”

On June 19, the House Committees on Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor announced that a new Advisory Committee will decide which services will be covered.

"And who is in charge of the Health Benefits Advisory Committee? The Surgeon General," Donohue said.

"Benjamin should not wait until the Senate considers her appointment to let the public know where she stands. As a practicing Catholic, she cannot chair a committee that would support mandated abortion coverage in employer insurance plans," Donohue told

"There is no ‘common ground’ on this issue," he said.

Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From

Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report
Receive a free daily email report from with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.