Obama, Democrats Make it Official: Reconciliation to Push Pro-Abortion Health Care
by Steven Ertelt
March 3, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress made it official today — saying they will use the controversial reconciliation process to railroad the pro-abortion health care bill through Congress. Under the process, the House will attempt to pass the pro-abortion Senate health care bill.
Then, both the House and Senate will go back and approve the reconciliation bill that will make changes to the Senate measure designed to ensure House Democrats will support the bill. In the Senate, Republicans will not be able to filibuster it.
The reconciliation bill will not revoke the massive abortion funding under the Senate measure and will not correct any of the other pro-abortion problems with the bill.
In a speech at the White House, Obama launched his final push to get the pro-abortion health care bill approved and unveiled more changes for the reconciliation bill to twist arms for votes for the bill.
"The American people want to know if it’s still possible for Washington to look out for their interests and their future," Obama said, despite polls showing Americans oppose the pro-abortion health care bill and abortion funding. "They are waiting for us to act. They are waiting for us to lead. And as long as I hold this office, I intend to provide that leadership."
"This is our proposal. This is where we’ve ended up. Its an approach that has been debated and changed and I believe improved over the last year," Obama added, despite his own pledge not to have a bill that funds abortions.
"This is where we’ve ended up," he said about the final status of the Senate bill.
"I don’t know how this plays politically, but I know it’s right," he said. And so I ask Congress to finish its work, and I look forward to signing this reform into law.
Before his speech, Sen. Tom Harkin told Politico the Senate is a green light on reconciliation. He spoke after talking with top Senate Democrats including Harry Reid and he said the reconciliation plan has been approved.
And Sen. Dick Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, said the House would move first and attempt to pass the pro-abortion health care bill in the next two weeks.
"The first step is with Speaker Pelosi and so I will let her decide what it takes in the House," Durbin said.
The House is expected to hold a vote on the Senate health care bill by March 19. The bill then goes to the president for signature without going through conference and there will be no other opportunity to stop the abortion funding.
After the Senate bill becomes law, the House then amends the Senate bill through a reconciliation bill and the Senate will then debate the reconciliation bill.
Last week’s White House summit saw the top Republican in the House inform Obama that Americans don’t want taxpayer funding of abortions and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi mislead participants by claiming the bill doesn’t fund abortions.
Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, emailed LifeNews.com about how that works.
"Every version of the health care bill has contained multiple pro-abortion mandates and federal subsidies for abortion — except for the version that was fixed by adoption of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, over Speaker Pelosi’s objections," Johnson explained. "But President Obama and Senator Reid succeeded in keeping that fix out of the Senate bill — indeed, the Senate produced a final bill that is the most pro-abortion single piece of legislation to reach the floor of either house of Congress since Roe v. Wade."
He said the current Senate bill that Obama and Democrats are promoting through reconciliation, "would result in direct federal funding of abortion through Community Health Centers, tax subsidies for private abortion plans that cover abortion (including some federally administered plans), and pro-abortion federal administrative mandates, among other problems."
Under the Senate health care bill that will be the main bill Obama and Democrats push through Congress, there is no ban on abortion funding. While some states can opt out of funding abortions under the plan, taxpayers in other states will be forced to pay for them.
But the bill contains other pro-abortion problems that are concerns for pro-life advocates.
The bill requires that at least one health care plan be promoted across the country that pays for abortions, more abortion funding would come via the affordability credits, and many of the so-called limits on abortion funding in the Senate bill are temporary and could expire or be overturned at a later date.
The Senate health care bill also pays for abortions under the Indian Health Service program.
And it contains the Mikulski amendment that would allow the Obama administration to define abortion as preventative care and force insurance plans to pay for abortions.
Finally, the Senate bill does not contain language needed to offer full conscience protection for pro-life medical workers and facilities.
The new Obama health care plan proposing final changes to the Senate bill so it can move through Congress corrects none of these problems outlined by leading pro-life groups as reasons for pro-life advocates to oppose the government-run health care bill.
And the changes Obama submitted for the Senate bill under reconciliation actually increases the potential abortion funding for Community Health Centers.
ACTION: Click here to find your member of the House and urge a NO vote on the pro-abortion Senate health care bill.
Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com
Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com 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.