Seeking to quell dissatisfaction with the inclusion of the Stupak amendment in the health care bill among pro-choice Democrats in the House, President Obama told Jake Tapper of ABC News (link):
“I laid out a very simple principle, which is this is a health care bill, not an abortion bill,” Obama said. “And we're not looking to change what is the principle that has been in place for a very long time, which is federal dollars are not used to subsidize abortions.
He went on to insist that the bill must not change the status quo regarding abortion that no federal dollars will go towards abortion.
This is a direct contradiction of much of the liberal ethos. For pro-choice activists, abortion is a necessary part of health care. In a statement to the Examiner, Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America said:
The Stupak-Pitts amendment, as passed by the House, represents an abortion ban that goes far beyond the status quo. We're working with all of our allies, including those in the White House, to make sure the Senate bill does not include the same divisive abortion ban that's in the House bill.
But those allies at one point included President Obama, who has applauded the bill, and currently insists it will not go beyond the status quo. According to NARAL's own statement makes it clear this is quite a departure:
The Stupak-Pitts amendment makes it virtually impossible for private insurance companies that participate in the new system to offer abortion coverage to women. This would have the effect of denying women the right to use their own personal private funds to purchase an insurance plan with abortion coverage in the new health system — a radical departure from the status quo. Presently, more than 85 percent of private-insurance plans cover abortion services.
Looks like “change” is about to hit that status quo straight on.