Choice, Life Groups Slam Obama Order on Abortion Funding

As I said in an earlier post, the proposed executive order forbidding the use of federal funds for abortions, is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. At best, it creates a bureaucratic and accounting nightmare, and at worst, it changes nothing in the original legislation.

Pro-choice and pro-life groups on Sunday strongly denounced a deal by pro-life Democrats and President Obama to ensure limits on taxpayer money for abortion services, outlined in a Senate health insurance overhaul now on the verge House approval.

Abortion rights supporters chastised the president, saying he caved on his principles by agreeing to issue an executive order that strengthens limits on abortion. Abortion opponents, on the other hand, said Obama’s pending order does nothing to prohibit spending on abortion services as provided in the Senate bill.

The National Organization for Women issued a statement that it is “incensed” Obama agreed to the deal sought by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., and other lawmakers who argued that the Senate health care overhaul allowed public funding for abortions. The lawmakers had been the key votes to stopping passage of the massive government plan.

“Through this order, the president has announced he will lend the weight of his office and the entire executive branch to the anti-abortion measures included in the Senate bill, which the House is now prepared to pass,” reads a statement from NOW.

“President Obama campaigned as a pro-choice president, but his actions today suggest that his commitment to reproductive health care is shaky at best. … We see now that we have our work cut out for us far beyond what we ever anticipated. The message we have received today is that it is acceptable to negotiate health care on the backs of women, and we couldn’t disagree more,” the group said.

The National Right to Life Committee argued that seven objectionable pro-abortion provisions in the Senate bill are unchanged.

“The executive order promised by President Obama was issued for political effect. It changes nothing. 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 group said.

Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund President Marjorie Dannenfelser said the group was revoking its “Defender of Life” award to Stupak, which was to be awarded at its Wednesday night gala.

“We were planning to honor Congressman Stupak for his efforts to keep abortion-funding out of health care reform. We will no longer be doing so,” Dannenfelser said. “Let me be clear: any representative, including Rep. Stupak, who votes for this health care bill can no longer call themselves ‘pro-life.'”

Stupak, who led Democratic lawmakers opposed to the Senate bill, made an announcement of a deal Sunday afternoon, surrounded by a handful of Democratic lawmakers who had held out their “yes” votes in exchange for a guarantee of no public funding for abortion.

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