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President Obama Has Pro-Choice Groups Upset

July 20, 2010

One of the things which certain partisans ignore is that President Obama certainly desires to keep his promises about health care reform to pro-life Democrats who supported his work. The meme that he is “the most pro-abortion president” of all time ignores what happened under and by President Nixon (who was interested in abortion for population control). Moreover, the meme is used time and again, despite no valid evidence in favor of his being a “big abortion supporter,” as a means to scare people away from something Obama wants to do.  Every time the meme is used to force an uncharitable reading into his actions, and used to make everything about abortion — no matter how remote the connection between abortion and one of Obama’s policies. Every time the claim that “he is promoting abortion” is brought out and shown to be false, the people who cry wolf seem to think they can con us by making us believe they scared the wolf away. No, it doesn’t go that way. (And the time the wolf did get into the fold, many, not all, not only didn’t seem to care, they praised him despite all the evil he did).

Moreover, one of the things you really need to do is acknowledge the good faith President Obama has had in keeping his promises, and making sure those promises are kept, even if his pro-choice supporters are upset.

Sometimes I wonder why several pro-life groups are unable to acknowledge what Obama has done in favor for those who are pro-life is two-fold: 1) fear he might actually be getting more done than what pro-life advocates who make it a profession to be advocates have done (shaming them) and 2) fear that their rhetoric, when found to be shallow, will not be able to convince another group of pro-life voters to follow their partisan politics which have nothing to do with abortion. If they really wanted to encourage Obama to do what they want, one of the best things they could do is acknowledge what he has done without some sort of backhanded insult in the process.

  1. Kurt permalink
    July 20, 2010 4:02 pm

    The Pro-Life Movement is dedicated to destroying the President and furthering the Right-wing. Abortion is just something they use when it helps that cause and something to ignore when it does not. They have no moral claim on anyone not interested in advancing secular conservativism.

    • July 20, 2010 4:14 pm


      Exactly the case. If they wanted something beyond that, they would do what they can to get the most out of President Obama, especially since it is clear he is willing to work with those who are pro-life (Stupak et. al.). But we all know how they turn a blind eye to the direct evil of their own beloved candidates — and will ignore more direct support for abortion when it is such candidates. Obama is doing more for the pro-life cause than they — if for no other reason than having people who take on the name of life expose themselves for what they are, so that hopefully people can move on and out of their partisan hands and really work for life.

      • July 20, 2010 4:17 pm

        As long as private health care insurance covers abortion, abortion will be covered by health care plans. The way out is not to try to make it harder for the poor to get health care. As long as the rich keep putting more demands on those who have no health care than they do for themselves, the whole health care abortion debate is a sham. If I saw people putting themselves in solidarity with those without health care as long as the market supports abortion, I would listen.

  2. Colin Gormley permalink
    July 20, 2010 4:08 pm

    “Trying to head off more problems, the Health and Human Services Department announced last week the program will not cover abortions except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger — exceptions traditionally allowed under federal law.

    That’s a more restrictive policy than will be generally applied under Obama’s new health care law.

    Curious. This means that abortion is expanded in Obamacare. That the prochoice groups are upset is that normally abortion would be funded under the healthcare bill. But this would appear to conflict with the Vox Nova narrative.

    • July 20, 2010 4:12 pm


      I let your clueless comment through. It is clear you do not understand Hyde, and what it allows, and the Church said if “equivalent to Hyde” is in the reform, they would support it. I would also recommend, once again, Cardinal Dulles on legislation and abortion.

  3. Colin Gormley permalink
    July 20, 2010 4:32 pm

    “I let your clueless comment through.”

    Is that more of the charity and respect you adovcate?

    “It is clear you do not understand Hyde,”

    Does not Hyde allow for just these exceptions? Rape, incest, and life? You have to demonstrate why my comment is “clueless.”

    “and the Church said if “equivalent to Hyde” is in the reform, they would support it.”

    That’s incorrect. The USCCB also had a variety of concerns about conscience rights, and immigrants.

    • July 20, 2010 4:45 pm

      What is not incorrect is that the focus was on abortion. The “they didn’t include immigrants” is indeed a right concern. But two things I will add to that:

      1) the idea that “if not everyone who should get health care will be given it with this reform, we can’t accept giving it to more people” seems an odd argument (as I pointed out many times)
      and 2) the people bringing this up often were the one who praised Joe Wilson. Figures.

  4. Kurt permalink
    July 20, 2010 6:00 pm

    Colin has a point. 50 million Americans have no health insurance. If events happen that cause them to obtain private, commerical insurance, more likely than not it will finance elective abortions. Should they obtain insurance from a public plan or with government assistance from a private plan, they will have abortion financing in these very limited and tragic circumstances.

    This is why it was Pro-Life to vote against TARP and the Stimulus. Only with a total economic meltdown and every American losing insurance or the job from which they obtain insurance can we stop abortion.

  5. Colin Gormley permalink
    July 21, 2010 1:03 am

    My point was that in the AP story linked that Obamacare (according to the AP) does not limit abortion to the Hyde exceptions. This would essentially mean that the AP, Planned Parenthood, and the USCCB are all wrong in order for Mr. Karlson to be right.

    “Only with a total economic meltdown and every American losing insurance or the job from which they obtain insurance can we stop abortion.”

    Or we can end the abortion scourge. That the energies here are more focused on bashing the prolife movement rather than ending the deliberate murder of children shows warped priorities. That it’s ok to support a bill that forces the poor to participate in funding slaughter because insurance premiums are too high.

  6. Phillip permalink
    July 21, 2010 5:55 am

    There was an NPR story the other day that discussed the same topic. The reporter noted that there was an understanding that the Executive order banning abortion funding was to apply to health care that went in place in 2012 (or is it 2014) but not to high risk pools that were to cover individuals in the interim. So part of the frustration of pro-choice groups.

    Perhaps this is why state plans that explicitly have abortion coverage that exceeds the Hyde Amendment exceptions were approved by Health and Welfare. The attention brought by NRLC and other pro-life groups seems to have provided the political muscle to shift the administration. Good thing for the unborn that the NRLC is doing its job.

    • July 21, 2010 6:24 am

      They were not approved. There was no indication they were. The pro-life groups made it up. Then they got a declaration “It’s not there.” Not because anyone said anything did this make it so, but because there was nothing there. Stop crying wolf and then saying “well, I scared it away.”

  7. Phillip permalink
    July 21, 2010 10:11 am

    That’s what NPR reported. Not me saying it. But perhaps NPR is a hotbed of the reactionary right.

  8. Phillip permalink
    July 21, 2010 11:16 am

    Here’s from the NPR blog on the subject. Note that they report that New Mexico was already using Federal funds for elective abortions.

    • July 21, 2010 11:24 am

      First, it got hammered for something it didn’t do — allow states getting federal funds to run insurance programs for people with pre-existing conditions to cover elective abortions.

  9. Phillip permalink
    July 21, 2010 11:31 am

    A more extensive quote from the NPR article:

    “To recap: On Wednesday, after the National Right to Life Committee demonstrated that unlike Pennsylvania (which was not yet using federal funds to provide abortions) that New Mexico was, the administration stepped in and New Mexico quickly changed its high-risk pool rules to eliminate that.
    Here’s why, said a statement from Health and Human Services Department spokeswoman Jenny Backus:
    As is the case with (Federal employee health benefit) plans currently, in Pennsylvania and in all other states abortions will not be covered in the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) except in the cases of rape or incest, or where the life of the woman would be endangered.
    But that’s not going over so well with abortion-rights groups. Particularly because, as Igor Volsky of the Center for American Progress’s Wonkroom points out, neither the health law nor the executive order President Obama issued after the law was signed prevents abortion funding in the high-risk pool program.”

    As I noted above, New Mexico WAS ALREADY using Federal Funds for abortion and that the Executive order is felt (by some) not to apply to high risk pools.

    • July 21, 2010 12:11 pm


      In other words, in the words of the NRTLC — which is what has been in question and shown to be in error. If there was a desire to include abortion and to ignore promises, we would not have seen an immediate reaction. Seriously, stop crying wolf. It wasn’t there. Each time it is proven it is not there.

  10. Kurt permalink
    July 21, 2010 11:45 am


    The Pro-Choice groups are upset because even those who buy insurance from the High Rsik Pools without getting a government subsidy are denied abortion coverage.

    Since New Mexico has yet to get dollar one for High Risk Pool subsidies, can you explain how they have already spent federal funds for elective abortion?

  11. Phillip permalink
    July 21, 2010 12:14 pm


    I don’t know. Ask NPR. But the reality is that there were approved plans and, according to NPR, New Mexico was already implementing their plan whether they had dollars or not. NPR also notes that NRTL “demonstrated” the problems in the PA and NM plans. Doesn’t seem like crying wolf.

  12. Phillip permalink
    July 21, 2010 12:34 pm

    I guess this statement by Cardinal DiNardo, hardly a right-wing shill, sums up many of our concerns:

    “The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), whose assessment of the Order agreed with Richards’, has praised the recent HHS statement applying Hyde-amendment restrictions to the high-risk pools – but did not buy the administration’s claim that the restrictions had already been in place.

    “We welcome this new policy,” said USCCB President Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, “while continuing to be gravely concerned that it was not issued until after some states had announced that pro-abortion health plans were approved and had begun to enroll patients.”

    • July 21, 2010 12:38 pm

      Yes, they have kept the meme up, but the meme keeps presenting itself as false each and every time it is presented.

  13. Phillip permalink
    July 21, 2010 12:39 pm

    Its nice to know Cardinal DiNardo is presenting a false meme.

    • July 21, 2010 12:41 pm

      Well, indeed he is; what is difficult about it? We have gone over this before on here. Where is the source of his information? Where has he met with the challenges to that source? Why has every predicted “abortion funding” proven to be false?

  14. Phillip permalink
    July 21, 2010 12:50 pm

    It hasn’t been proven to be false. The administration has offered an explanation for the funding ban that, as Cardinal DiNardo notes, seems to have come after the approval of the plans and may quite well have been altered due to the work of NRTL. I suspect the Administration can provide the Federal guidelines as well as the date of their writing and prove DiNardo wrong.

    • July 21, 2010 1:26 pm

      Again, the boy who cried wolf really wasn’t lying. Every time no one found a wolf there, it is because he cried wolf and made a commotion so no wolves came by.

  15. Kurt permalink
    July 21, 2010 12:51 pm

    New Mexico was already implementing their plan whether they had dollars or not.

    You are now uncertain if they had any federal funds. That is not what you wrote earlier. You wrote: “As I noted above, New Mexico WAS ALREADY using Federal Funds for abortion.”

    Listen Phillip, I spend my whole workday around politics and legislation and I am familiar with political blowhards. In fact, if I didn’t interact with blowhards I would have a lonely life.

    So long as we all can admit that the Right-to-Life Movement is just another Washington DC political lobbying operation, I think we can be fine.

  16. Phillip permalink
    July 21, 2010 1:51 pm


    It seems NPR was convinced that the NM plan was in place and already using funds. Again, talk to them. It seems NPR is convinced that the PA and NM (and it seems the Maryland) plans were approved by Health and Welfare and were in fact written to provide elective abortion. If you have information that the plans as written did not receive H and W approval please link. It seems to the USCCB and NPR and NRTL that if there were Federal guidelines that applied the Hyde Amendment to these plans that they weren’t applied. If they weren’t applied then both state and Federal regulators were dolts. (I am quite prepared to accept stupidity on the part of such regulators as an explanation for allowing what you are arguing was clearly prohibited.) I am also quite prepared to accept that guidelines were written after the fact and that the wolf was truly about. I am also inclined to think (with Cardinal DiNardo) that the Obama administration was not going to enforce the Executive Order but got caught.

    • July 21, 2010 1:55 pm

      No, Phillip, it was reporting what someone told them; they didn’t investigate further, though those who did have shown that their source was in error.

  17. M.Z. permalink
    July 21, 2010 1:58 pm

    I believe the earliest federal funds are authorized for this program is August. Therefore it would be impossible for the feds to have funded said program. Many states of course sponsor their own high risk plans and are free to do whatever they want with them.

  18. Phillip permalink
    July 21, 2010 2:05 pm

    So Health and Welfare didn’t approve the state plans?

  19. Kurt permalink
    July 21, 2010 3:28 pm


    It has been the Department of Health and Human Services since 1980 when the word “Welfare” was dropped from its name.

    My understanding is that no state plan has been given final approval.

    You previously posted a claim that I guess this statement by Cardinal DiNardo,… sums up many of our concerns: “The U.S. Conference …

    Contrary to calling it “a statement by Cardinal DiNardo,” following by a colon and then a quote mark, what immediately followed was in fact not a statement of the Cardinal. It was an editorial statement by Liesite (excuse me, “LifeSite”).

  20. Phillip permalink
    July 21, 2010 3:46 pm

    You’re right about Health and Human services.

    I’m not sure how New Mexico started enrolling people without final approval. Same with Maryland.

    As far as Cardinal DiNardo, here is this quote from the Texas Catholic Conference:

    “We welcome this new policy,” the Cardinal said, “while continuing to be gravely concerned that it was not issued until after some states had announced that pro-abortion health plans were approved and had begun to enroll patients.”

    “This situation illustrates once again the need for Congress to enact legislation clearly stating once and for all that funds appropriated by PPACA will not pay for abortions or for insurance coverage that includes abortion,” Cardinal DiNardo said. “The issue of government involvement in the taking of innocent human life should not remain subject to the changeable discretion of executive officials or depend on the continued vigilance of pro-life advocates.”

    He also seems of the opinion that a number of plans were approved.

  21. Phillip permalink
    July 21, 2010 4:22 pm

    It also seems that Montana signed a contract in June allowing their high risk pool to go ahead. In the link it notes PA also had signed by that time. So there were approvals including PA which had the allowance for elective abortions.

  22. Colin Gormley permalink
    July 21, 2010 5:12 pm


    It is increasingly obvious that it doesn’t matter how much evidence put forth, from Planned Parenthood to NRLC to the USCCB, that abortion is in the healthcare bill and the only thing stopping the funding is Obama’s EO.

    Consider how many people, from various political views, have to be wrong in order to Mr. Karlson and Kurt to be right.

    You won’t convince them. In the face of overwhelming evidence they continue to be obstinate. That’s why they have to slander the pro-life community with deragatory and insulting remarks.

  23. Kurt permalink
    July 21, 2010 8:06 pm


    Thank you for correcting the two errors you posted and your admission of uncertainty about the state plans.

  24. Phillip permalink
    July 22, 2010 6:31 am


    Thank-you for your partially correct post. I believe my only corrections were that Health and Welfare should be Health and Human services and that the New Mexico plan (which also apparently had a contract with HHS with Montana and PA) did not yet receive funds. Though it was actively enrolling participants and would receive funds Aug 1 (within the next ten days) with which to implement their program. And also thank-you for (tacitly) admitting that state plans have been approved.

    So it seems at least the contention that plans were approved that allowed elective abortion was not crying wolf.

  25. Kurt permalink
    July 22, 2010 8:11 am


    My comment was to your withdrawal of your earlier assertion that Cardinal DiNardo made the statement you posted starting with: “The U.S. Conference…”

    I appreciate your correction of that false assertion. And certainly in a week when even an esteemed man like the Secretary of Agriculture can be duped by the constant lies and misinformation that the conservative blogosphere puts out, we can’t blame you for trusting Liesite. Chalk it up as a lesson learned.

    As the Right-to-Life Movement continues in a relationship with the secular Right that is starting to give whoredom a bad name, I’m pleased to tell you that anti-abortion supporters of health care reform are launching a campaign to tell the public the truth — starting in Ohio and Pennsylvania and hopefully spreading elsewhere.

    I’m sure the counter-denunciations by the NRLC will be fast and furious but, so the people of Ohio and Pennsylvania will have competing anti-abortion organizations each calling the other a liar. There at least has to be some entertainment value there.

  26. Phillip permalink
    July 22, 2010 8:52 am

    As I also noted, Cardinal DiNardo did indeed comment on the current situation including this:

    “In this program as in others, the issue of government involvement in the taking of innocent human life should not remain subject to the changeable discretion of executive officials or depend on the continued vigilance of pro-life advocates. It is vitally important for people with serious medical conditions who have been unable to obtain coverage to receive the help offered by programs such as this – and for them to be assured that their coverage will be life-affirming, not life-threatening.”

    Note he does credit the “vigilance of pro-life advocates” in bringing the problem to light. As I also noted above, this was a real problem that Cardinal DiNardo did in fact address and also as President of the USCCB.

    Thank-you again for accepting that high risk pools with elective abortion coverage have been approved by the Federal Govt. Where we go from here is to be seen as Federal guidelines are still being written.

  27. Kurt permalink
    July 22, 2010 10:36 am

    Philip, yes, the Cardinal did comment, not just with the words previously and falsely asserted. It is a continued puzzle why the Right-Wing seems incapble of dealing with the truth — edited videotapes, words added on to statements, etc.

    The Cardinal rejects the position of the Republican Party and the Right-to-Life Movement that these plans should not exist in the first place. It certainly will be a great day when we neither need to do advocacy for the unborn nor have to deal with a corrupt and partisan Pro-Life Movement. I am not holding my breath on either.

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