Pro-life organizations celebrate Stupak amendment, warn of existing risks on health care bill

Pro-life organizations celebrate Stupak amendment, warn of existing risks on health care bill

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama


This morning, top pro-life organizations across the U.S. praised the inclusion of strong pro-life provisions on the health care bill via the Stupak-Pitts amendment, but warned that Obama’s health care project still poses significant threats to life and family issues, especially in the version discussed in the Senate.

The Stupak-Pitts Amendment, which was given the opportunity to be taken to a vote after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi realized she did not have sufficient votes to pass the bill, removed two major pro-abortion components from H.R. 3962: The prohibition of the "public option" from paying for abortion, except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest; and by permanently prohibiting the use of the new federal premium subsidies to purchase private insurance plans that cover abortion.

The Stupak-Pitts Amendment passed by a margin of 240-194, while the health care bill passed later on Saturday night by 220-215.

The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) Legislative Director Douglas Johnson said that "the Obama White House and top congressional Democratic leaders spent months concealing and misrepresenting provisions that would directly fund abortions through a government plan, and subsidize premiums for private abortion plans. Today's bipartisan House vote is a sharp blow to the White House's pro-abortion smuggling operation."

Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said on Saturday that, "the House of Representatives made a principled and politically sound decision to continue our nation's longstanding policy of protecting taxpayers' conscience in the area of abortion funding. We urge the Senate to follow suit."

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins described the amendment's passage as "a huge pro-life victory for women, their unborn children, and families. We applaud this House vote which prohibits the abortion industry from further profiting from taxpayers by using government funds to pay for the gruesome act of abortion. I congratulate the bipartisan coalition that for months has worked to ensure that abortion is not covered in the bill."

Operation Rescue President Troy Newman also said on Sunday that "the voices of 71% of the American people who oppose taxpayer funded abortions were heard loud and clear. We thank each one who took the time to raise their voices in opposition to the Obama-Pelosi- Carhart effort to force taxpayers to fund the shedding of innocent blood through abortion."

While Dr. Charmaine Yoest, President and CEO of Americans United for Life said: "the passage of this amendment is a victory for the pro-life Americans across this country who have flooded Congress this week with the message that abortion does not belong in health care. The bipartisan effort that led to its passage, under the leadership of Congressmen Bart Stupak and Joe Pitts, is a step toward a future where both political parties defend Life."

Nevertheless, the pro-life organizations highlighted that the threats against the right to life still exist.

In fact, NRLC's leadership warned that "the White House and pro- abortion congressional Democratic leaders will keep trying to enact government funding of abortion, and will keep trying to conceal their true intentions, so there is a long battle ahead."

"We will remain vigilant, and shift our efforts to the Senate to ensure that these same pro-life protections are added to the Senate bill, said the Susan B. Anthony List.

FRC's Perkins also warned that: "unfortunately, H.R. 3962 is a seriously flawed piece of legislation. The Speaker's bill still allows rationing of health care for seniors, raises health costs for families, mandates that families purchase under threat of fines and penalties, encourages counseling for assisted suicide in some states, does not offer broad conscience protections for health care workers and seeks to insert the federal government into all aspects of citizen's lives. Speaker Pelosi is using the guise of health care reform to push her version of social engineering onto American taxpayers. Additionally, the legislation would place a crushing debt on both current and future generations."

Concerned Women of America said that "the bill still contains objectionable provisions that will ration and deny health care and pay for coercive 'end of life planning'."

"There is still a long way to go to prevent government subsidized health care from paying for abortions. Now the ball is in the Senate's court, and we pray that the common sense displayed in the House on the matter of abortion funding will also prevail in the Senate," Operation Rescue's statement said.

Dr. Yoest warned too that "one victory however does not mean the battle is won."

"We are deeply concerned by the rhetoric we heard today from Democratic leadership indicating an intention to subvert the bipartisan pro-life majority. We will remain vigilant in watching the final language of the Senate bill to ensure that pro-life protections remain in the final health care reform bill."

The only dissenting voice came from the pro-Obama "Catholics United," whose executive director, Chris Korzen said that "the bishops' stamp of approval means that this bill is unambiguously pro-life, and we will vigorously oppose those who suggest otherwise."

However, a staff member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) currently working on the Hill to prevent health care from including an abortion mandate, quickly dismissed Korzen's claim.

Speaking for background to CNA, the USCCB staff member said that "there is stamp no of approval from the bishops whatsoever. Someone here has been either extremely naive or extremely partisan."

The bill will now be debated and voted upon in the Senate.