Democrats for Life Attacks Pro-Life Groups on Abortion Funding in Health Care

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

Democrats for Life Attacks Pro-Life Groups on Abortion Funding in Health Care

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 20
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Last week, the National Right to Life Committee exposed three different instances in which the Obama administration had approved federal taxpayer financing of abortions in new high risk health insurance pools. But to hear Democrats for Life of America tell the story, NRLC officials lied about the funding.

NRLC pointed to information in press releases and on web sites of state agencies in Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Maryland showing the new high risk programs would not prevent funding of abortions.

The Obama administration was forced to retreat and make a promise that the new programs would not fund abortions, though several pro-life groups and the nation’s Catholic bishops agreed with the NRLC analysis and said they would believe the Obama administration’s word only when they see it implemented.

In an email to its members that obtained, Democrats for Life trashed NRLC and other pro-life advocates for exposing the funding and supposedly lying about it.

"The National Right to Life Committee and others accused President Obama of allowing public funds to be used for abortion," DFLA said in a statement, saying NRLC "issued a false press release."

DFLA said pro-life advocates and Republicans in Congress "continue to mischaracterize aspects of the health reform bill, we will work to ensure the law provides affordable and accessible health care for millions of Americans while upholding the longstanding ban on public funding of abortion."

The group pointed to outrage from pro-abortion groups in response to the Obama administration’s tenuous promise as somehow proving its case that pro-life groups misled about the abortion funding before the Obama administration retreated.

DFLA went further in saying Right to Life is wrong to support pro-life candidates who opposed the pro-abortion health care bill over pro-life Democrats who supported it — and made the claim NRLC is working with a prominent pro-abortion group.

"It is almost as if NRLC and NARAL are working in concert to defeat our pro-life congressmen," DFLA said. "NRLC has attempted at every turn to convince the Americans that the pro-life Democratic Senators and Congressmen voted for a health care bill that would fund abortions. Instead of working to uphold and support the President’s Executive Order, NRLC has sought to mischaracterize it."

Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee talked with about the DFLA attacks.

He said "there are some special interest groups that are prepared to engage in fairly outrageous distortions in their continued efforts to paint the health care law as acceptable."

Johnson said DFLA is wrong to portray the pro-abortion health care bill "as acceptable or even positive from the pro-life perspective" and wrong to "protect those who are responsible for its enactment" by "[doing] violence to documented facts and the ordinary meaning of words."

He said he found it surprising that, after evidence was releasing showing abortion funding would definitely occur, "Democrats for Life of America did not criticize the Obama Administration for double-dealing, and did not express second thoughts about the DFLA endorsement of a gravely flawed law."

"[I]nstead, they send out a mailing calling NRLC’s revelations ‘lies,’ and solicited donations to ‘defend our pro-life Democrats from unjustified attacks by the Republican controlled National Right to Life Committee,’" he said.

"If the Obama Administration does end up keeping abortion out of the high-risk pool program, it will be because NRLC acted as a watchdog and raised an alarm. DFLA apparently prefers the role of pet lapdog to that of pro-life watchdog," Johnson said.

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, also took exception to DFLA’s characterization of the situation and attacks on pro-life groups, even though FRC was not named in its statements.

He commended NRLC, saying it "followed the paper trail and pointed out that the Obama administration was secretly forcing taxpayers to finance its abortion agenda under the health care law."

He pointed out how "officials at Health and Human Services (HHS) argued that the President’s Executive Order wouldn’t allow it" and then backtracked and promised not to fund abortions when it was exposed how the executive order did not already prohibit it.

"Democrats for Life and Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) are slamming organizations like ours for exposing the truth," Perkins continued. "Like some of the questionable ‘pro-life’ Democrats who voted for the bill, DFL is feeding us the line that Obama’s Order magically blocks HHS from funding abortions. Hardly."

He said the proof is in the paperwork: "The Pennsylvania plan specifically lists abortion as a covered service on page 14. Doctors are allowed to perform any abortion they deem "necessary" without bothering to define what "necessary" means. In New Mexico, HHS claims that the high risk pool program will only pay for abortion in the cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother. But that’s not what the state’s website says."

Perkins also says the battle is not a case of Republican pro-life groups versus organizations that say they are pro-life and back Democrats because even some pro-life Democrats voted no on the health care bill and understood it funded abortions.

"Regardless of how they spin it, liberals knew that the bill funded abortion when the President signed it. At the end of the day, some pro-life Democrats voted "no," and they should be congratulated," Perkins said.

"But the Stupaks of the world, who continue to turn a blind eye to the truth, need to hear from their constituents. That’s the only way to hold politicians accountable," he concluded.

Pro-life blogger Jill Stanek noticed the feud and appears to side with NRLC and FRC on how the dustup went down last week.

"When Obamacare was signed, both pro-life groups and pro-abort groups agreed Obama’s accompanying Executive Order supposedly clarifying that federal funds would not pay for abortion was worthless," she said. "Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards called the executive order a ‘symbolic gesture.’ Only pro-life Democrats maintained it held merit."

"The same scenario holds true in this case. Both pro-lifers and pro-aborts agree [the high risk health insurance pools] were not covered by Obama’s executive order," Stanek continued.

She pointed out how Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards wrote, "[W]e are deeply disappointed that the administration has voluntarily and unnecessarily decided to impose [abortion funding] limits," making it clear they did not exist originally (and may never exist).

"Again, only pro-life Democrats think otherwise," Stanek concluded.


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