Pro-Life Groups Applaud Passage of Stupak Amendment to Stop Abortion Funding
by Steven Ertelt
November 6, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Several top pro-life organizations hailed last night’s vote for the Stupak amendment to stop abortion funding in the government-run health care bill the House approved last night. They said the vote was just the first step of many in making sure Congress doesn’t create new programs to fund abortions.
As LifeNews.com reported, the House voted 240-194 in a strong bipartisan fashion for the Stupak-Pitts amendment that prohibited abortion funding.
The measure ensures that both the public option and the affordability credits found in HR 3962 are not able to funnel taxpayer dollars towards abortions.
Americans United for Life Action president Charmaine Yoest confirmed that the passage of the Stupak measure "is a victory for the pro-life Americans across this country who have flooded Congress this week with the message that abortion does not belong in health care."
One victory however does not mean the battle is won, Yoest warned.
We are deeply concerned by the rhetoric we heard today from Democratic leadership indicating an intention to subvert the bipartisan pro-life majority. We will remain vigilant in watching the final language of the Senate bill to ensure that pro-life protections remain in the final health care reform bill," Yoest said.
The American Center for Law and Justice, a pro-life legal group, also applauded the vote.
The passage of this pro-life amendment represents the only bright spot in an otherwise troubling government-run health care package put forth by House Speaker Pelosi," ACLJ chief counsel Jay Sekulow told LifeNews.com.
Sekulow gave kudos to Bart Stupak and Joseph Pitts "for their unrelenting efforts in protecting the unborn" but said, "Unfortunately, the leadership in the House has produced a disturbing and flawed health care package that not only fails to meet the needs of most Americans, but interjects an unprecedented level of government intrusion and bureaucracy into health care.
The Susan B. Anthony List, which released a new video with AUL to build opposition to abortion funding, called the decision to support the Stupak amendment "principled and politically sound."
Its president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, said the pro-life women’s group would "shift our efforts to the Senate to ensure that these same pro-life protections are added to the Senate bill."
Dannenfelser also said those who voted for abortion funding will face consequences in their districts.
"Congress has sided with the resounding majority of citizens opposed to government funding of abortion. Supporters of government-funded abortion will now have some explaining to do back home, before voters head to the ballot box in 2010," she said.
If theres one thing many members of Congress learned from Tuesdays elections, its the danger of being out of step with your constituents. Votes do have consequences, and the recent tensions over health care reform should drive that message home. We will use every tool in our arsenal to ensure the folks back home know the truth about their legislators record," she added.
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins also hailed the vote, calling it "a huge pro-life victory for women, their unborn children, and families."
Perkins said that, even with the Stupak amendment, there are other concerns with the bill.
"Unfortunately, H.R. 3962 is a seriously flawed piece of legislation. The Speaker’s bill still allows rationing of health care for seniors, encourages counseling for assisted suicide in some states, [and] does not offer broad conscience protections for health care workers," he told LifeNews.com.
"FRC will work hard to ensure pro-life provisions remain intact as the bill goes through the legislative process," he promised.
Democrats for Life of America, which worked closely with the pro-life Democrats who joined Stupak in leading the effort for the pro-life amendment, was elated.
"While it would be tempting to call this a Democratic win, the truth is the American people are the winners of this hard fought victory," DFLA director Kristen Day said.
She called on the Senate to also remove abortion funding from its version of the health care legislation.
Wendy Wright, the president of Concerned Women for America, said the Stupak was needed and it "corrected a terrible provision in the bill that would force Americans to subsidize abortion, an act that kills unborn children and harms women."
She agreed that HR 3926 "contains objectionable provisions that will ration and deny health care [and] pay for coercive ‘end of life planning.’"
Wright is also concerned that Democrats will remove the Stupak amendment down the road as the legislation moves forward.
"Although an amendment passed to bar federal funding of abortion, Democrat leaders refused to guarantee that it will be in the final bill. The vote on the amendment may have been a ruse to gain pro-life Democrats vote for the bill," she worried.
Finally, Troy Newman, the head of Operation Rescue, also applauded the Stupak amendment vote.
"Today, the voices of 71% of the American people who oppose taxpayer funded abortions were heard loud and clear. We thank each one who took the time to raise their voices in opposition to the Obama-Pelosi-Carhart effort to force taxpayers to fund the shedding of innocent blood through abortion," he said.
"There is still a long way to go to prevent government subsidized health care from paying for abortions. Now the ball is in the Senate’s court, and we pray that the common sense displayed in the House on the matter of abortion funding will also prevail in the Senate," he added.
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