Pro-Life Group: Obama Rep’s Comment Shows President Would Fund Abortions

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 8, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Group: Obama Rep’s Comment Shows President Would Fund Abortions

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 8
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A leading pro-life group says a false statement from the top White House spokesman for President Barack Obama shows he’s not serious about revoking abortion funding in health care. Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs misled a reporter yesterday by saying the Hyde amendment will stop abortion funding.

CNS News reporter Fred Lucas asked White House spokesman Robert Gibbs about a letter the Catholic bishops recently sent Congress pointing out that each of the current health care bills includes abortion subsidies.

The letter said all of the health care bills in Congress fund abortions, but Gibbs claimed that wasn’t the case.

"Well, I don’t want to get me into trouble at church, but I would mention there’s a law that precludes the use of federal funds for abortion. That isn’t going to be changed in these health care bills," he said.

Today, the National Right to Life Committee blasted Gibbs and said the remarks "once again demonstrated that the White House is a partner in an ongoing smuggling operation, which if successful will result in funding of abortion on demand by the federal government."

The group said Gibbs "repeated a discredited claim made by President Obama himself."

On August 20, Obama said, "There are no plans under health reform to revoke the existing prohibition on using federal taxpayer dollars for abortions. Nobody is talking about changing that existing provision, the Hyde Amendment. Let’s be clear about that. It’s just not true."

More recently, Obama said in a September 9 speech to both houses of Congress that "under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions."

But Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for National Right to Life, told today that Obama is saying one thing and doing another.

"Gibbs’ statement is one more proof, if any more were needed, that the White House is actively engaged in a political smuggling operation — an attempt to achieve funding of elective abortion by the federal government, cloaked in smokescreens of contrived language and outright deception," he said.

"There is no current federal law that would prevent the new programs created by the pending health care bills from paying for abortion on demand — and the White House knows this full well," he explained.

Not only does the Hyde Amendment not stop abortion funding in the health care bills — because it pertains only to Medicare — Johnson notes Obama’s own party won’t commit to an amendment in the House to stop abortion funding.

"Only language written directly into the bills would prevent government funding of abortions — but such language has been blocked by the Democratic chairmen of five congressional committees, with White House cooperation, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is refusing to allow the House to even vote on adding a true Hyde Amendment to the health care bill," he said.

National Right to Life, and every other leading pro-life group, confirms that the current health care bills in Congress contain one or both of the following components: a nationwide government-run insurance program, "the public plan," and programs that would subsidize health insurance for tens of millions of Americans.

None of the funds that would be spent by the public plan, and none of the funds that would be spent by the premium subsidy programs, would be appropriated through the annual appropriations bills. This has been confirmed in memoranda issued by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

"This means that none of these funds will be covered by the Hyde Amendment, because the Hyde Amendment applies only to funds appropriated through the annual Health and Human Services appropriations bill," NRLC says.

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