Pro-Lifers Blast Attempt to 'Smuggle' Abortion Mandates into Health Reform Bill

The Obama Administration, working with powerful Democratic leaders in Congress, is trying to smuggle into federal law sweeping expansions of access to abortion on demand, including federal funding of abortion, through "health care reform" legislation, railed pro-lifers Tuesday.

"These proposals are a violation of fundamental tenets of our Constitution: that deeply-held religious convictions be respected, that the federal government not compel privately offered services to do Uncle Sam's bidding, and that the conscience rights of scores of millions of Americans be respected," said Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins.

"No one in any field of endeavor should be compelled to violate his or her conscience at the whim of Washington. One of the reasons we fought a Revolution was to establish that principle, and it's still worth defending today," he added.

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According to the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), two health reform bills currently moving in Congress – the Kennedy bill and the House Democratic leadership bill – contain multiple provisions that would result in federally mandated insurance coverage of abortion on demand, massive federal subsidies for abortion, mandated creation of many new abortion clinics, and nullification of at least some state limitations on abortion.

If enacted, the provisions would represent "the greatest expansion of abortion since the Supreme Court handed down its Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion in 1973," reported NRLC Federal Legislation Director Douglas Johnson in a letter to the media.

"If President Obama, congressional Democratic leaders, and the pro-abortion advocacy groups were to succeed in mandating vast expansions of access to abortion, with federal funding, the predictable result would be a great increase in the number of abortions performed – this, from a president who assured the American people that he would pursue policies to reduce abortions," he added.

Already in the House, 19 Democrats have written House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowing not to vote for any health bill that includes abortion funding.

"We cannot support any health care reform proposal unless it explicitly excludes abortion from the scope of any government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan," said the letter, whose lead signers included Dan Boren of Oklahoma, Bart Stupak of Michigan and Minnesota's Collin Peterson.

Still, House Democrats on Tuesday rolled out H.R. 3200, a far-reaching $1.5 trillion plan that reportedly includes provisions that would result in health networks being required to establish new abortion providers in order to provide local access to elective abortions.

Though the bill is being touted as one that would make health care a right and a responsibility for all Americans for the first time, pro-lifers say it could still accomplish its primary goal without having to require inclusion of elective abortion in virtually all health insurance plans.

"These results can be prevented only by adoption of an amendment that explicitly excludes abortion from the scope of all of the bill's provisions dealing with minimum benefits and related mandates," NRLC's Johnson expressed in a letter to members of Congress.

"Unless such an amendment is adopted, a vote for H.R. 3200 is a vote for tax-subsidized abortion on demand," he added.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi predicted Tuesday passage of the legislation before lawmakers leave Washington for their annual August recess.

President Obama, who has said he wants a bill on his desk in October, hailed the unveiling of the House Democrats' bill as one that "will begin the process of fixing what's broken about our health care system, reducing costs for all, building on what works and covering an estimated 97% of all Americans."

Meanwhile, in the Senate, a second health care bill that seeks to expand insurance coverage to nearly all Americans was expected to be voted on Wednesday by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

In the Senate, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee led by liberal Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., oversees health policy.

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