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National Right to Life Committee

Federal Legislation Department

WASHINGTON (Nov. 9, 2009, 7 PM EST) -- ABC News reports the following comments by President Obama today regarding the Stupak-Pitts Amendment that was added to the health care bill by the House of Representatives on November 7:

"I laid out a very simple principle, which is this is a health care bill, not an abortion bill," President 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." Saying the bill cannot change the status quo regarding the ban on federally funding abortions, the President said "there are strong feelings on both sides" about an amendment passed on Saturday and added to the legislation, "and what that tells me is that there needs to be some more work before we get to the point where we're not changing the status quo."

Regarding the president's remarks, the following comment may be attributed to Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC):  "The only thing that will prevent the health care bill from being 'an abortion bill' is precisely the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, as the House of  Representatives recognized by a 46-vote margin.  The phoniness of Obama's claim that he has been trying to preserve the 'status quo' on abortion policy should be evident to any observer by now.  In reality, the White House and top Democratic congressional leaders have been working hard to create a national federal government health plan that would fund abortion on demand, just as Obama promised Planned Parenthood."

In an alert distributed on Sunday, November 8, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund said, "President Obama campaigned on a promise to put reproductive health care at the center of his reform plan."  The alert urged Planned Parenthood supporters to send Obama emails saying, "Now it's time for you to make good on that commitment."

To see a short video clip of Obama making that promise, before the Planned Parenthood Action Fund on July 17, 2007, click here.  On that occasion, Obama said: 

"Well, look, in my mind reproductive care is essential care. It is basic care.  And so it is at the center and at the heart of the plan that I propose. . . . Essentially, what we're doing is to say that we're going to set up a public plan that all persons and all women can access if they don't have health insurance.  It'll be a plan that will provide all essential services, including reproductive services."

To view a September 11, 2009 examination by on the meaning of Obama's 2007 statement, click here.  Today, reviewed a November 7 claim by U.S. House pro-abortion leader Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) that the Stupak-Pitts Amendment "puts new restrictions on women's access to abortion coverage in the private health insurance market even when they would pay premiums with their own money," and concluded that Lowey's claim is "FALSE."  Read it here.

An archive of NRLC letters to Congress and other documents regarding the abortion-related components of the health care legislation are posted here.


The National Right to Life Committee, the nation's largest pro-life group, is a federation of affiliates in all 50 states and 3,000 local chapters nationwide.