Obama Will Sign Disputed Abortion-Health Care Order Today Behind Closed Doors
by Steven Ertelt
March 24, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Barack Obama will sign the highly-disputed executive order concerning abortion funding in the health care bill he signed into law on Tuesday. Attorneys and staff with leading pro-life groups have analyzed the order and say it will not truly prohibit abortion funding and promotion.
However, Obama has invited a who’s who of pro-life Democrats who contravened the Catholic bishops and pro-life groups by voting for the pro-abortion health care bill.
Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan will lead the delegation of members after what the pro-life movement views as a betrayal by making the executive order arrangement with Obama in exchange for his vote and the votes of several other Democrats who could have opposed the bill and its pro-rationing and pro-abortion components.
In comments in the Washington Times, Stupak again praised the executive order.
"This executive order has the full force and effect of law and makes very clear that current law of no public funding for abortion applies to the new health care reform legislation," Stupak said.
And White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs praised it as well.
"He believes that the bill maintains the status quo and he thinks the executive order reiterates that strong belief," he said of Obama on the Hyde amendment. "What the bill does and what the executive order does is underscore that the status quo is preserved."
Gibbs also disputed whether Stupak had the votes to defeat the pro-abortion health care bill — although it passed on a margin that would have killed the bill had Stupak and his six colleagues voted no.
"I’m not sure that that’s altogether knowable," Gibbs said.
As LifeNews.com has noted, expert analysis from pro-life groups shows the executive order will not be effective in preventing abortion funding or restoring much-needed conscience protections for pro-life medical workers.
"You probably heard that Rep. Bart Stupak who had fought valiantly to keep abortion out of the health care bill has now agreed to support the bill with no amendments, no corrections, but merely because the President will issue an Executive Order (EO) purportedly keeping abortion out of the Senate bill. The fact is that the EO would do nothing of the sort," Family research Counsel analyst David Christensen writes.
"In fact, and EO simply cannot trump statutory law. If the Senate bill passes, the various abortion funding provisions in it will become the law of the land unfettered by this EO," he explains.
Also, 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 a legal challenge, pro-life groups have said.
National Right to Life issued a statement to LifeNews.com 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.
Also, pro-abortion groups have admitted the executive order is meaningless.
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.