Pro-Life Groups Blast Executive Order Deal Between Stupak, Barack Obama

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 20, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Groups Blast Executive Order Deal Between Stupak, Barack Obama

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 20
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Leading pro-life organizations are unanimous in their condemnation of the a deal between Rep. Bart Stupak and President Barack Obama to exchange an executive order for votes from pro-life Democrats backing the pro-abortion Senate health care bill.

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins was clear in his opposition and said what many pro-life groups are thinking, that there could be consequences at the ballot box.

"Those few pro-life Democrats that would place the fate of the unborn in the hands of the President, will be placing their own political fate in those same hands secured only by a promise that runs counter to everything he has said and done," he told

He confirmed "there is no way that an executive order will protect the unborn or prevent the greatest expansion of elective abortion since Roe v. Wade.
"Pro-life lawmakers would be making a serious mistake to trust those who have repeatedly attempted to mislead the American people into believing that abortion is not in the bill," he added.

FRC and other pro-life groups point to legal rulings during the Bush administration in the 1980s that make the executive order a failed solution to the abortion funding in the bill.

Court rulings in cases such as Commerce of U.S. v Reich and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld make it very clear that such an executive order likely wouldn’t survive, Perkins contends.

National Right to Life issued a statement to agreeing.

"The executive order promised by President Obama was issued for political effect. It changes nothing," NRLC said. "It does not correct any of the serious pro-abortion provisions in the bill. The president cannot amend a bill by issuing an order, and the federal courts will enforce what the law says."

"The order does nothing at all to mitigate the other abortion-related problems described in the NRLC letter, dealing with bill provisions that create dangerous regulatory mandate authorities, revise Indian health programs, and create pools of directly appropriated funds that are not covered by existing restrictions on funding of abortion," it adds. "Nor can the order correct the omission from the pending legislation of the necessary conscience-protection language that had been included in House-passed health care legislation last November (the "Weldon language")."

Richard Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops previously condemned the executive order idea.

"The statutory mandate construed by the courts would override any executive order or regulation. This is the unanimous view of our legal advisors and of the experts we have consulted on abortion jurisprudence. Only a change in the law enacted by Congress, not an executive order, can begin to address this very serious problem in the legislation," he explained.

National Right to Life also weighed in on the legal issue surrounding the order.

“If the bill is signed into law, these statutory requirements and defects are not subject to correction or nullification by the chief executive or his appointees, whether by Executive Order, regulation, or otherwise," the pro-life group said.

House Republican Leader John Boehner agreed with the analysis.

"Democratic leaders are working up an executive order on the matter for the President to sign and claiming it will override the very legislation they are trying to enact," he said.

"This plan is a welcome admission from the President and Speaker that the bill will, in fact, fund abortion procedures with tax dollars. But rather than fixing this fatally-flawed bill, this scheme is simply an attempt by Democratic leaders to provide political cover for wavering Democrats who profess to be pro-life," he added.

Other problems include Obama perhaps going back on his word.

"The President could also lift such an executive order at any time with a stroke of a pen. During the campaign, President Obama promised he would treat abortion as a basic health care mandate for both taxpayers and private health insurers to subsidize. He told Planned Parenthood that ‘reproductive care’ would be at the ‘center’ of his health care plan," Perkins said.

"And after only three days in office, he lifted the Mexico City Policy which prohibited taxpayer funds from going to foreign non-governmental organizations that promote and perform abortions," he noted.

Officials with Americans United for Life and the Susan B. Anthony List have also commented saying they oppose the executive order and say it will not work to prevent abortion funding.

Charmaine Yoest, the president of AUL, added: "“This deal to pass the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade is a tragedy for America. We believe that Mr. Stupak’s choice to succumb to the intense pressure of the last week has resulted in his endorsement of a charade that does not even begin to address the anti-life provisions in this legislation. The American people do not support taxpayer funding of abortion and Speaker Pelosi and the President have undermined representative democracy by working to pass this legislation with this unprecedented contortion of the legislative process.”

Other pro-life advocacy groups have also responded to the Stupak-Obama deal:

Penny Nance, Concerned Women for America CEO: “This is not a new scenario. Bill Clinton strong-armed moderate Democrats in 1993, and 34 of them are rumored to be working at 7-11 today. As the people’s representatives, Members of Congress have one job and that is to represent the interests and views of their constituents consistent with the higher law. Poll after poll has been taken and it is clear, no matter how well the President explains his plan, the American people have rejected it. I am sorry. I know it hurts his feelings, but wake up. You all work for us, the voters, and we do the hiring and firing. He can’t save you.”

Rep. Joe Pitts, a top pro-life Republican in Congress: "From a pro-life perspective, I find absolutely no comfort in this executive order. This puts the fate of the unborn in the hands of the most pro-abortion president in history. This is a career-defining vote on the life issue. Any member of either party who votes for this bill will never again be able to claim they have always stood for the most important and fundamental of all human rights."

Kristan Hawkins, Students for Life of America: “I am extremely disappointed to hear that Con. Stupak and other Democrats who call themselves ‘pro-life’ have caved to a promise President Obama made to them. Why would he trust him when in his first week as President one of his first actions was to fund abortions overseas with tax-payer dollars. Legal scholars agree that an Executive Order will not be strong enough to prevent tax-payer money from funding abortions in the new healthcare take over. Further, Con. Stupak and his other Democrats with them have sold out millions of Americans with disabilities and expensive-to-treat diseases. Make no mistake about it: healthcare rationing will take place with those who need it most and now the 72% of Americans who disagree with tax-payer funded abortions will pay for the slaughter of innocent life.”

Lila Rose, Live Action: “We are dismayed that Congressman Stupak has made a backroom deal with pro-abortion forces. Stupak and his colleagues have appointed President Obama to do their job for them, making the President the sole guardian of pro-life integrity in the health care plan. The chickens have elected the fox to guard the henhouse. It is absurd to trust that Obama, the most pro-abortion president in our history, will stop taxes from paying for abortions. We can only imagine the foul pressures brought upon Congressman Stupak by Obama’s Administration and Pelosi’s Majority. If this bill is not stopped, the consequences of Stupak’s deal with pro-abortion forces will lead to the deaths of countless more defenseless, unborn Americans. With this bill, the IRS will be Planned Parenthood’s cashier as Americans are forced to fund this horrific human rights abuse.”

Bradley Mattes, Life Issues Institute: "Bart Stupak and other so-called pro-life Democrats in the House have sold out America’s unborn babies on a promise made by the most pro-abortion president in our nation’s history."

Brian Burch, “The decision by Rep. Stupak to accept an Executive Order to solve the abortion issues in the health care legislation is unconscionable. The Executive Order fix is a band-aid solution that fails to solve the fundamental problems in this bill, and can be repealed at any time, for any reason, by the President or future presidents. The Order is likely to be challenged by pro-abortion groups, and could be struck down by the courts."

Day Gardner, National Black Pro-Life Union: “It’s amazing that after saying over and over that there was no tax payer funding for abortion in the 2700 page monster—he issued an order about tax payer funding in abortion. President Obama lied…again. And Rep. Bart Stupak is just another member of Congress who promised so much, yet delivered so little."

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