President Obama wants health care reform legislation to explicitly prohibit abortion funding, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
In an interview Sunday, Sebelius reportedly told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that there will be no uncertainty with the president’s plan as there is with the current House bill, which pro-lifers say could potentially subsidize abortions with taxpayers’ money.
“So you are saying that he will go beyond what we have seen in the House and explicitly rule out any public funding for abortion?” asked Stephanopoulos, who hosts ABC’s “This Week.”
“Well that’s exactly what the President said and that’s what he intends that the bill he signs will do,” Sebelius replied.
On Wednesday, at a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Obama tried to make it clear where he stands on the issue of health care as Congress struggles to revamp the nation’s health care system.
Obama said one “misunderstanding” that he wanted to clear up was regarding the place of abortion in “our plan.”
“[U]nder our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place,” insisted Obama, who told members of various faith communities last month that it was “not true” that the government would be funding abortion.
Notably, however, as noted by Factcheck.org and other independent agencies, the current House bill would allow abortions to be covered by a federal plan and by federally subsidized private plans though it does not require federal funds to be used to support abortion coverage.
“As for the House bill as it stands now, it’s a matter of fact that it would allow both a 'public plan' and newly subsidized private plans to cover all abortions,” reported Brooks Jackson, director of Factcheck.org, a project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania that takes no position on whether the health care bill should or should not allow coverage for abortions.
Despite this, Sebelius, in her interview Sunday, said she thinks the legislative language of the final bill will reflect what Obama has told the American people.
According to ABC's Stephanopoulos, Sebelius told him that the president will try to make sure no public money goes to pay for abortions under health care reform.