Pro-Life Advocates Don’t Trust Obama Saying He Wants No Abortion in Health Care

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 23, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Advocates Don’t Trust Obama Saying He Wants No Abortion in Health Care

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 23
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — In a recent interview, President Barack Obama said he does not want abortion funding in the final health care bill Congress may send him. But two pro-life advocates say they don’t trust Obama, and point out that his record is consistently pro-abortion.

Obama told CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric that he would "rather not wade into" the issue of abortion funding in health care "at this point" and that he is "not trying to micro-manage what benefits are covered."

"I’m pro-choice, but I think we also have the tradition in this town, historically, of not financing abortions as part of government-funded health care," he said. "My main focus is making sure that people have options of high quality care at the lowest possible price."

Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, called Obama’s comments a "deception."

He told today that Obama "failed to mention that he has always opposed this ‘tradition’ and that the health-care bills he is pushing would obliterate it."

Johnson said Obama’s qualification of "at this point" shows he may favor funding and coverage of abortion at some other time — i.e. after Congress approves and he signs a bill giving his administration authority to include it.

"I guess he thinks a better time would be after the bill is enacted, when the pro-abortion mandates start going out from the Department of Health and Human Services, and when he blocks renewal of the Hyde Amendment," Johnson said.

Johnson also said Obama’s words seem disingenuous knowing that one of his top staffers spoke to hundreds of Planned Parenthood activists last week.

"Tina Tchen, a senior White House official, was off meeting with Planned Parenthood leaders — urging them to further whip up their grassroots activists to prevent abortion from being removed from the legislation by Congress," he told

"In total, this is one more example of Obama using soft rhetorical smokescreens to obscure his advancement of sweeping pro-abortion policies," Johnson said.

Deal Hudson, a respected Catholic writer, also sees Obama’s words as less than aboveboard.

"Everyone remembers Obama’s answer to Rick Warren’s question during the campaign about abortion — that it was ‘above my pay grade,’" Hudson wrote in a column today.

"Now that Obama has assumed the highest pay grade in the United States, he is avoiding responsibility for abortion policy and assigning responsibility to lower pay grades in his administration," he said.

Obama said he did not want to "micromanage" benefits, but would leave that to either Secretary Sebelius or a "panel of experts."

"That puts Obama in the position of claiming the abortion coverage was not his decision but that of his ‘experts,’ or none other than the pro-abortion Catholic running the Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius," Hudson writes.

Hudson also noted the story on Obama official Tina Tchen speaking to members of a Planned Parenthood meeting.

"Obama is also using subordinates to rally abortion supporters to lobby Congress," Hudson writes. "Tchen urged supporters of Planned Parenthood to lobby Congress to keep abortion services in the health care package."

"This message comes from a long-time personal friend of the president and an important member of the Obama administration," he said. "Bottom line? The Obama administration is asking abortion supporters to pressure members of Congress."

"President Obama clearly wants abortion services as part of the health care package, but he is not being honest with the American people," Hudson concludes.

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