Abortion Language in White House Health Bill Has Some Worried

The 11 page White House proposal on health care has hit some snags in Washington, with outside groups complaining the language in the plan does not go far enough in explicitly banning the use of federal funds for abortions. Americans United for Life (AUL) is asking President Obama to re-evaluate the wording in his proposal regarding abortion, saying he had previously promised no federal dollars would be used to fund the procedure.

Charmaine Yoest, the director of Americans United for Life (AUL), has said repeatedly that her organization, which has met with various officials at the White House, would only be satisfied with a bill that strictly limits federal funding of abortions, language included in the Stupak-Pitts amendment to the House legislation, but not clarified in the Senate version. “The President promised the American people that ‘no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.’ Incredibly, his health care proposal doesn’t contain a single mention of the Life issue,” Yoest said in a statement. “As I made clear to the White House in a meeting last fall, unless they include specific legislative language banning the use of federal funds for abortion, they will be establishing taxpayer funding for abortion. Today was the President’s opportunity to keep his word.”

President Obama’s proposal on health care, published on Monday on the White House website (www.whitehouse.gov) specifically deals with the Senate legislation and not the House passed legislation. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer says the proposal is only an “opening bid” for a meeting Thursday at Blair House between Republicans, Democrats and the President and is seen as a way to bridge the differences between the House and Senate passed legislation. When asked about the abortion language during a telephone briefing with reporters, Pfeiffer said the language in the Senate bill was what the White House would be using for their proposal.

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