Ex-Obama Chief of Staff Admits Pro-Life Points on Obamacare

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 17, 2011   |   6:52PM   |   Washington, DC

In defending his own pro-abortion position as he seeks the office of Mayor of Chicago, former Obama administration Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel essentially admitted one of the main points the pro-life community has made about Obamacare.

In a post at her web site, pro-life blogger Jill Stanek highlights an interview Emanuel gave to the Chicago Tribune editorial board along with pro-abortion former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun. During the meeting, Obamacare came up and a discussion of the Stupak amendment.

That’s the amendment pro-life groups supported during the Obamacare debate to attempt to ensure the health care legislation did not wind up funding abortions at taxpayer expense. The House approved its bill with the Stupak amendment in place but when the Senate approved its bill without sufficient bill-wide abortion funding limits in place, Stupak and a group of pro-life Democrats caved and voted to send the abortion-funding Senate bill to President Barack Obama to sign into law.

Stupak said he had to relent because he didn’t have the votes to stop the bill and he secured a deal with Obama for the president to issue an executive order that supposedly would eliminate the abortion funding. But the order merely restated the weak and insufficient limits in the Senate bill and, as pro-life groups argued, it does not have the force of law and can easily be revoked.

As Stanek noted, Emanuel made two interesting statements:

The first contradicted former Congressman Bart Stupak’s contention that Nancy Pelosi had the votes to pass Obamacare in the House without Stupak’s Democrat pro-life bloc, which he said forced him to agree to President Obama’s executive order rather than walk away from the table with nothing.

In actuality, according to Emanuel, pro-lifers had the other side’s one-seeded fruits in a vice.

Emanuel’s other statement appeared to corroborate the pro-life community’s contention that Obama’s EO does not carry the force of law.

Stanek includes a video of Emanuel’s remarks and transcribes them as follows:

Carol Moseley Braun: …Stupak-Pitts took from women in the new health plan the right to choose, or at least to have it covered…. You wound up being the person tagged with making that, quote, compromise happen….

Rahm Emanuel: …That is a fair question, and I’ll explain it. President Obama was determined to get his healthcare bill passed. There were 14 votes that were holding up, and my job as chief-of-staff was to help the president get – after a hundred years of waiting for comprehensive reform of healthcare – to help him get that legislation.

Carol Moseley-Braun: And so you threw women under the bus?

Rahm Emanuel:   And it was hanging in balance by 14 votes. I came up with an idea for an executive order to allow the Stupak Amendment not to exist by law but by executive order, and it was good enough that Nancy Pelosi, Jan Schakowsky – here in Chicago, Rosa DeLauro, Anna Eshoo – a number of women who are held – Nita Lowey – who are held up as honors by people like NARAL and Planned Parenthood, who supported that bill and supported the way to make progress.

She notes the disparity in the numbers with Emanuel saying one thing and Stupak another in public interviews.

Either Stupak or Emanuel is “misremembering.” Or one of them was out-bluffed. And that would have had to be Stupak. If pro-aborts really had the votes, they wouldn’t have needed the EO.

Stanek also says Stupak was “hoodwinked” on the executive order in terms of it not having the force of law.

With neither Stupak nor Emanuel able to get their story straight and with nothing in place to stop abortion funding under Obamacare — indeed, the National Right to Life Committee had to expose three states in which the Obama administration and state officials planned to use the high-risk health insurance programs to fund elective abortions at taxpayer expense — it is left to pro-life groups working in concert with House Republicans to repeal Obamacare or work to mitigate the abortion funding components.

As Emanuel essentially implied, the top pro-abortion brass in the House never would have gone along with the executive order had it really stopped abortion funding.