NRLC to Obama and Reid: Bring on the abortion debate

National Right to Life to Obama and Reid:

You wanted debate?  Now you'll get debate – on government-funded abortion.

WASHINGTON (November 21, 2009) --  The U.S. Senate tonight barely cleared an initial 60-vote procedural hurdle, setting the stage for a 2,074-page health care bill, crafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.), to move forward to debate before the full Senate.  The following statement was issued by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of right-to-life organizations in all 50 states, and may be attributed to NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.

As National Right to Life has previously noted, Senator Reid's bill [on page 118] would authorize the federal government to pay for any and all abortions through a huge new federal health insurance program, the "public option," and also to subsidize purchase of private plans that cover abortion on demand.  President Obama and Reid know that the substance of these abortion-promoting policies is deeply unpopular, so they seek to conceal the reality with layers of contorted definitions and money-laundering schemes.

Obama and Reid wanted debate – so now they’ll get debate, on their cloaked provisions that would cover abortion on demand in proposed new government-run and government-subsidized insurance plans.

Obama and Reid are seeking to block enactment of the bipartisan Stupak-Pitts compromise, adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives on November 7 by a vote of 240-194. This amendment would prevent government funding of elective abortion through the proposed “public option," and would also prevent federal subsidies from paying for private insurance plans that cover elective abortion.  

During the weeks ahead, National Right to Life will continue to fight the efforts of President Obama and congressional Democratic leaders to cover abortion on demand in two huge new federal health programs.  The Senate bill faces additional 60-vote hurdles in the future.  Moreover, a courageous group of pro-life Democrats in the House of Representatives will oppose final approval of health care legislation if the Stupak-Pitts Amendment is gutted or removed.

For extensive further documentation on the Stupak-Pitts Amendment and other aspects of the issue, visit the NRLC website at

Both NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson and Senior Legislative Counsel Susan T. Muskett are available to provide further comment and analysis on the Stupak-Pitts Amendment and the abortion provisions in the Reid bill.  To arrange an interview, contact the NRLC Communications Department at (202) 626-8825 or (202) 423-3329 (mobile).

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.  National Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect those threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide.