Republican Cao Opposes Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill, While Wilson Wavers

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 18, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Republican Cao Opposes Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill, While Wilson Wavers

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 18
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao was the lone Republican to support the House health care bill and he was listed as a firm no on the Senate measure because of its massive abortion funding. President Barack Obama hoped to twist his arm, but he says he will oppose the bill.

WDSU indicated late Thursday that Cao said the Senate bill is "much weaker than the version we passed through the House" on stopping abortion funding.

He said he could only vote for the bill if the abortion funding were removed, which Democrats have refused to do.

He said he has been flooded with calls and emails but will vote his conscience.

"We have people knocking at our doors, we have groups coming in, lobbying," he said. "It comes down to me and my own conscience and that’s what I have to deal with."

"We do need some kind of health care reform to assist many people in the district," he said. "But again, my decision to support the health care bill cannot contradict my conscience."

Obama on Wednesday met with Cao and asked him to take a new look at the abortion language in the bill — something Cao promised he would do.

"He’s asked if I would restudy the Senate language and that I would approach it with an open mind. And I promised that I would go back and study the Senate language again," Cao said, according to the New Orleans Times Picayune.

"He fully understands where I stand on abortion, and he doesn’t want me to vote against my conscience because he, like me, believes that if we were to vote against our conscience, our moral values, there is really nothing left for us to defend," Cao said. "I’m glad that the president is very understanding. He really shows his own moral character."

"He did not whip me on the vote," he said.

Where Cao stands is firmly against abortion funding — which is clearly a part of the Senate health care bill.

Cao was trained as a Catholic priest and has a role as an advisor to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, he holds a strong pro-life position and once said he would rather save his soul than ever vote for a bill that promotes abortion.

“At the end of the day if the health care reform bill does not have strong language prohibiting the use of federal funding for abortion, then the bill is really a no-go for me,” Cao told the New Orleans Times Picayune back in August.

“Being a Jesuit, I very much adhere to the notion of social justice,” Cao said.

“I do fully understand the need of providing everyone with access to health care, but to me personally, I cannot be privy to a law that will allow the potential of destroying thousands of innocent lives,” he told the New Orleans paper at the time.

Cao told the newspaper his decision doesn’t depend on the Catholic bishops, who oppose the bill, or the Catholic Health Association, which supports it.

"At the end of the day, it’s me facing my own conscience," he said.

"I was a moral philosophy professor. I taught the issue for many years. I fully understand the moral issue," he said. "I do believe that we need health care reform, that we need to address the issues of pre-existing conditions, of accessibility and affordability in health care. At the same time, I am holding onto the principle that we should not kill the unborn."

Meanwhile, Rep. Charlie Wilson of Ohio, a pro-life Democrat, all but confirmed he will support the pro-abortion bill and is covering up the abortion funding in it.

"As a pro-life Catholic," he said, according to National Review, "I think the language in the Senate bill clearly ensures that there will be no federal funding of abortion."

"I’m confident that the Senate language upholds my pro-life values," he continued.

Cao voted for the House bill so that changes the 216 votes that Pelosi needs.

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.

ACTION: Contact Cao at and Wilson at

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