August 20th, 2009
10:20 AM ET
5 years ago

Religious leaders agree on abortion in health care reform debate


(CNN) - Rev. Jim Wallis, a progressive evangelical leader who sits on President Obama's advisory council on faith-based partnerships, and Tony Perkins, the president of conservative group the Family Research Council, expressed rare agreement Thursday about the role of abortion in the health care reform debate while appearing together on CNN's American Morning.

Perkins pointed out that Republicans had submitted a number of amendments to health care reform legislation that would prohibit federal funding of abortion.

"Tony, I will support your effort to make sure that abortion is taken off the table in this debate," Wallis told his conservative counterpart, "I'm for that. I'll work hard for that. Let's work together on that. And then you support our moral principle that all Americans should be covered by health care – secure, affordable, accessible health care. Let's work together and make sure that both of those things, in fact, are a part of comprehensive health care reform because the system is broken and we have to fix it. And, don't let abortion derail that effort, please."

"Well, ask the president, then, to take it off the table and accept these amendments," responded Perkins, "and then we can have a discussion on how we fix health care in this country, and I'll be glad to work with you on that because we agree - we need to fix health care in this country."

"We do, then let's do it together," Wallis said.


Filed under: Abortion • American Morning • Health care
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Created and Blessed

    The womb should be the safest place in the world, until you come into the world. Once we are born we have the constitutional right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. How unnatural it is to have to be 'outside' the mother's womb to be protected in this country.

    Did you know that a pre-born baby has finger prints as early as 3 months in the womb? We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

    There are over 40 million babies who never got to be held in their mothers' arms. Who were they? We need to find out by first protecting the sanctity of 'human' life, then by nurturing it, then by
    giving them liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    August 20, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. Rick Ware

    I would like to know about how many Americans oppose abortion? Is it a majority? Because if it isn't, majority rules and if majority wants abortion as part of health care reform, let it be. I am not saying I agree with that, but the democratic process says majority rulses.

    August 20, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. Jim in Indiana

    Trust Tony Perkins? This guy knows what will happen to him if he supports anything put forward by the President. Republicans are the party of NO. That will not change until the currant republican leadership is replaced.

    August 20, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  4. socalgal

    You nitwits think that by agreeing that all housing, or gold and diamond jewelry, or cars, or vacations... should be affordable and is not, that there should be some sort of federal control to make it so. WELL, you know, we can't afford our politicians' antics either, so let's put a cap on them and limit their exposure to what really matters in our lives.

    August 20, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  5. Melissa

    Either religions need to do their jobs and support national health care like their messiah would have wanted, or they need to shut up.

    August 20, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. Oregon calling

    What kind of crap is this?!?!? I personally would never have an abortion but I feel that it is NOT MY PLACE to tell others that they can not have one. Do NOT take my RIGHT TO MY OWN BODY away from me.

    PEACE :-)

    Caryle Tylerkays
    (CNN will not post as it goes against its corporate sponsors)

    August 20, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  7. WhoisRight

    The Health Care Bill should specifically prohibit Abortion. That makes it clear.

    August 20, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. John, Brooklyn, New York

    I'm not sure why either of these religious leaders feel entitled to be to determining public policy. While I am a supporter of the Obama administration, I find the Reverand Wallis's comment "Let's work together on that (taking abortion funding out of the healthcare reform discussions)...then you can support our moral principle that all Americans should be covered by healthcare" to be, at best, presumptuous and, at worst, the clergyical equivalent to the old "smoke filled rooms".

    I am also a faithful Baptist and I find that having spiritual leaders politically wheeling and dealing like this to be demeaning to faith. It lowers the work of the church to gutter politics.

    I think most Americans Christians can agree that our spiritual lives are better served when our church leaders are "in the world, not of it". So, gentlemen, I suggest you read both our constitution and John 17:14-15.

    August 20, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  9. Pattie Scanlin

    Where is the rest of the input on this issue from representatives of other religions, of women's groups, and other organizations. A male "progressive" Evangelical Protestant and the (male) head of the Family Research Council hardly represent a cross-section of the American public.

    August 20, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  10. Dorothy

    As an american woman who supports pro choice. IF its for a medical procedure,Then it should be covered.

    August 20, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. DL

    Republicans have already said Major reform will happen with healthcare regardless...but here's the catch. If you watch the interviews, the tactic they are taking is to do nothing now, they would rather wait til they have the majority then just continue to deregulate and let the insurance industry solve the problem. Same method they used for Medicare D and Iraq...given their comments they don't want to support any gov sponsored healthcare which means medicare as well. Democratic proposal may not be perfect, but if they win their strategy of do nothing til they are in a position to do everything, America is going to despise the outcome.

    August 20, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  12. Ernesto

    If Wallis thinks he can deal with Perkins on anything he really needs professional counseling.

    August 20, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    And here's something to think on: who is more likely to be getting the public-provided insurance? Hmmmm? See any racial undertones here? Any disparate effect in the works? I mean, let's face it, preventing abortions for low-income inner city young women forces them to be saddled with the additional financial burden of the child. Ergo, it helps keep them and their families from rising above the station certain people would like them to stay in. Moreover, it increases their need for other forms of public assistance, perpatuates the burdens on inner city school systems, and a whole host of other societal ills. And yet, she has the right to choose whether to have that abortion...so what is the LEGAL reason for not funding them if she has public-provided insurance? What's that? There isn't one? Oh yeah.

    But hey, it's all part of the plan, "God's" supposed plan as interpreted by you, right GOPers?

    August 20, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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