Sunday, March 21, 2010

NRLC on EO: "issued for political effect." Pro-abortion groups not threatened

The National Right to Life Committee:

The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) remains strongly opposed to the Senate-passed health bill (H.R. 3590). A lawmaker who votes for this bill is voting to require federal agencies to subsidize and administer health plans that will pay for elective abortion, and voting to undermine longstanding pro-life policies in other ways as well. Pro-life citizens nationwide know that this is a pro-abortion bill. Pro-life citizens know, and they will be reminded again and again, which lawmakers deserve their gratitude for voting against this pro-abortion legislation.

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.

Planned Parenthood has now issued as statement: "We regret that a pro-choice president of a pro-choice nation was forced to sign an executive order that further codifies the proposed anti-choice language in the health care reform bill, originally proposed by Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska. What the president’s executive order did not do is include the complete and total ban on private health insurance coverage for abortion that Congressman Bart Stupak (D–MI) had insisted upon. So while we regret that this proposed executive order has given the imprimatur of the president to Senator Nelson’s language, we are grateful that it does not include the Stupak abortion ban." Not thrilled but not threatened.

NARAL has now spoken:
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said it was "deeply disappointing that Bart Stupak and other anti-choice politicians would demand the restatement of the Hyde amendment, a discriminatory law that blocks low-income women from receiving full reproductive-health care." Disappointed but not determined to do anything.
The leader of the House pro-choice caucus Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo said she thinks current law and the language in the health care bill go too far in restricting access to abortion. But DeGette said she doesn't have a problem with the executive order because "it doesn't change anything."  Right. It doesn't change anything.

See the Slate Magazine musings on Stupak's motive for accepting the EO below.


The New Republic isn't sweating the Executive Order. At this point, with the exception of NOW politically liberal groups don't seem to think the Executive Order is a threat. NOW sees it as a threat because it was hoping Obama would get Congress to get rid of the Hyde Amendment altogether. So for them this means he's probably not as unsympathetic to Hyde Amendment as they thought.
The Hill is also reporting the comfort level of pro-abortion politicos: Pro-abortion-rights Democrats lined up behind the deal, signaling that healthcare reform's biggest and last hurdle had been overcome.
"It looks like it's a go," Rep. Jan Schakowsy (D-Ill.) said after exiting Pelosi's office. "Assuming that there's no final, final, final, final shenanigans that go on with the Stupak people, I think we're OK."

Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.), the author of the abortion language initially approved in the House Energy and Commerce Committee that Stupak's November floor amendment replaced, was also satisfied.

"I'm pleased that we seem to be getting to the end," said Capps. "I'm thankful that we're to the point where now we can concentrate on healthcare reform and we're ready to take a vote."

Amy Sullivan at TIME sees the EO not as an Obama concession but a restatement of what had been agreed to last July. "After working out a 'deal' with the White House on abortion, Bart Stupak will be voting for health reform later this evening. I say "deal," because the executive order the White House announced it would issue to get Stupak's vote essentially promises that no federal funding will be used to subsidize abortion procedures--a promise easily enough given because that's exactly what Democratic leaders and the White House have said their version of health reform does all along. It's really hard to interpret this as anything other than Stupak caving in order to end up on the side of supporting health reform. There's nothing wrong with that--Stupak has long been a supporter of reforming the health care system--but it's difficult to see why he dragged this out for months if he was going to settle for the Senate language in the end. Stupak's health care dance may well have made it even harder for pro-life Democrats to have their concerns taken seriously going forward." (Emphasis mine).

Does it strike anyone else as strange that the President who reversed the Mexico City policy by executive order would somehow extend something like the Hyde Amendment by executive order????

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