House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrapped up today's White House Health Care Summit with a characteristically confrontational lecture in which she rebuked House Minority Leader John Boehner for saying the Obamacare proposal approved by the Senate and as modified recently by the White House provides public funding for abortions.
“I think it’s really important to note, though, and I want the record to show, because two statements were made here that were not factual in relationship to these bills,' Pelosi said. "My colleague, Leader Boehner, the law of the land is there is no public funding of abortion and there is no public funding of abortion in these bills and I don't want our listeners or viewers to get the wrong impression from what you said."
Pelosi's assertion brought immediate responses from pro-life leaders who claim the Senate bill indirectly uses federal tax dollars to fund abortion services provided through new Community Health Centers established by the legislation.
"Every version of the health care bill has contained multiple pro-abortion mandates and federal subsidies for abortion -- except for the version that was fixed by adoption of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, over Speaker Pelosi's objections," said Douglas Johnson, who is legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee.
"But President Obama and Senator Reid succeeded in keeping that fix out of the Senate bill -- indeed, the Senate produced a final bill that is the most pro-abortion single piece of legislation to reach the floor of either house of Congress since Roe v. Wade," Johnson said in comments published by LifeNews.com.
Under the Senate health care bill that will be the main bill Obama and Democrats push through Congress, there is no ban on abortion funding. While some states can opt out of funding abortions under the plan, taxpayers in other states will be forced to pay for them, Johnson said.
The Stupak Amendment was introduced by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-MI, during the House debate on its version of Obamacare last year. The amendment was approved with most Republicans and 64 Democrats voting for it.
Since then, Stupak has insisted that he and about a dozen of his fellow House Democrats cannot support any health care reform bill that doesn't include language specifically barring federal funding of abortion. Since the House version of Obamacare only passed by five votes, pro-lifer Democrats like Stupak likely hold the balance of power in Congress on the issue.
Charmaine Yoest, who heads Americans United for Life, was similarly disappointed in President Obama's failure to address the abortion issue when it was raised by Boehner.
"The president’s proposal was a pro-abortion health care plan before today’s meeting and after six hours of political posturing, it’s still a pro-abortion health care plan," Yoest said. "Federal funding for abortion has become the deciding issue in this debate, and yet the issue was raised only briefly today."
"This has been his approach to the abortion issue throughout this debate: to evade the question or misrepresent the facts to the American people. Among other anti-life provisions, the president's plan creates a first-ever 'abortion tax' to be paid by individuals participating in the health Exchange," Yoest said.
"The plan also includes $11 billion dollars of new funding for community health centers, some of which are abortion providers. And yet Speaker Nancy Pelosi today claimed falsely that 'there is no public funding of abortions in this bill.'"