November 19th, 2009
06:24 PM ET
5 years ago

Abortion rights opponents rip Senate health care bill

Washington (CNN) - Abortion rights opponents made clear Thursday that they are adamantly against language regarding coverage for reproductive services in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's health care bill.

"Senator Reid's bill provides for an unprecedented expansion of federally funded abortion," said Charmaine Yoest, head of the group Americans United for Life. "The majority of Americans who oppose federal funding of abortion will not stand for policies that force them into paying for abortions under the guise of health care reform."

The Senate plan would allow abortion coverage through privately funded premiums in both a government-run public insurance option and private plans purchased with the assistance of government subsidies.

The more conservative House of Representatives plan, in contrast, would bar abortion coverage under both the public option and private policies purchased with government subsidies. House Democratic leaders opposed the measure, but added it to win critical support from anti-abortion members.


Both plans would allow for exceptions in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is in danger.

Abortion opponents have rallied around the House language. Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan, co-author of the language adopted by the House, claimed Thursday that the Senate measure would "mandate abortion coverage for the first time in history."

GOP Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska said the abortion language in the Senate bill "satisfies no one." He also said a Senate vote on whether to open floor debate on the bill - now slated for Saturday - will be a "key vote for the pro-life community."

The leaders of the 40-member Republican Senate caucus have vowed to try to block the bill, requiring Reid to round up 60 votes in the 100 member chamber to overcome a filibuster and launch debate.

"We don't need 40 Democrats to stand up," Johanns said. "We just need one."

Democratic leaders have been walking a political tightrope on the abortion issue in recent weeks. Abortion opponents warn they have the votes to oppose a bill if necessary; abortion rights supporters were infuriated by what they saw as a sellout of core Democratic Party principles in the House.

"Health care reform must not be misused as an opportunity to restrict women's access to reproductive health services," 90 House Democrats opposed to the amended abortion language wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama last week.

In an example of the complicated politics of the issue, all but one of the House Democrats who signed the letter had voted to pass the overall health care bill even though it contained the amendment they opposed.

Their strategy now is to work with Obama and Senate Democrats to prevent inclusion of the language of the House amendment in a final health care bill.


Filed under: Abortion • Health care • Senate
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Joe

    When are these people going to get it. Abortin is not health care or reproductive health care. In spite of the liberal view that a woman has a right to their body< which I will not disagree with, they do not have the right to go out have sex, get pregnant and then have an abortion. The problem with this oucntry is the casualness of sex for the animalistic pleasure it provides. In those cases there is not love, just unadulterated pleasure with no concern for the chance to get pregnant. Then they just murder the fetus. YES IT IS MURDER. When someone kilsss a pregnant woman, they are tried on two counts of murder. One of you liberals please explain to me and the rest of us why is it two counts of murder yet abortion is not a murder?? What is the difference between the fetus that is aborted and the fetus that dies when the mother is killed??? You cannot tell me that htere is a difference and therefore abortion is murder and has no right being funded in the health bill. Wake up AMerica or we will go the way of all other powers in history. We will be destroyed from within and not from an outside enemy. Look around we are the enemy.

    November 19, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  2. Helene

    Abortion is LEGAL. If you don't like abortions, don't get one.

    November 19, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  3. Ted from Calif.

    I am not a big fan of abortion but I am a lesser fan of the religious right's efforts to force their religious beliefs on others. They forget the part of the First Amendment that protects citizens from religion.

    November 19, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  4. Flex

    Can we exclude health care for religious organizations? I can't think of a more apt way of showing what we think of the bible thumping lunatics!

    November 19, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  5. No Hillary = No Obama

    In this day and age unless a woman is raped or finds out they will have a developmentally impaired child whom they feel they cannot care for in good conscious – why would you act so irresponsibily as to place yourself in a situation where you have to get an abortion?

    November 19, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  6. Dom Mazzoccoli

    US Senators that agreed to pay off Sen. Landrieu should be arrested for vote buying and bribery and Sen. Landrieu for blackmail in the $100million deal to get her to vote for the healthcare bill. This group is as corrupt as ever and now not only do we all have to pay for the healthcare boondoggle that we now have to pay for this bribe with our tax dollars.

    November 19, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  7. Donna from Colorado Springs

    These people REALLY need to get a life!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The healthcare bill as proposed does not include coverage for abortions. I don't know who these people are listening to, but I'm pretty sure they are from the right side of the aisle!

    November 19, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  8. Keith in Austin

    Taxpayer dollars going toward Abortions. Brilliant! I hope all God-fearing Americans stand up in unison and protest this catastrophe.

    November 19, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  9. Dog Bite It

    What should be done about killing the defenseless unborn babies is a no brainer.
    Makes more sense to get the fireing squad out for members in the halls of congress that are 75 plus years old and can't get out of the way?

    November 19, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  10. Old Farmboy

    The argument of abortion is defined in Roe vs Wade. That's not what is being argued here. The argument is who should pay. Personally, I feel that if someone gets pregnant by rape or incest, they should have the right to a government funded abortion. I do not think that if someone is sexually active that they automatically have that right to a government paid abortion. I ask a question to the people, why should you pay for the abortion of someone that you have never, or never will meet? The hoopla of not costing taxpayer dollars, to me is a myth. How is more debt going to create less debt?

    November 19, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  11. ib

    NO WAY SHOULD WE HAVE TO PAY FOR SOMETHING WE DON'T BELIEVE IN WITH OUR TAX DOLLARS. Unless a woman's health or it's a case of incest or rape I think murder of unborn children is the best way to describe aboration. This whole bill should be DOA; it costs to much and forces something on the majority that we don't want. Vote them out in 2010.

    November 19, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  12. garer

    Look I think that if half the country disagrees with abortion and half agree....the fair compromise is it is legal but no tax dollar can be used to support it. That seems reasonable and logical.

    November 19, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  13. James, Ho. TX

    The G.O.P. is against a "Mother's Right To Choose" mainly because it needs for these children to grow and be raised until they're 18 yrs .of age and then its off to some "WAR" to the likes of G.W. and his Cronies. Has nothing to do with Health Care reforms.

    November 19, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  14. J.C. - Independent 4 Public Option

    "Abortion opponents warn they have the votes to oppose a bill if necessary;"

    You cannot be against abortion and health reform bill simultaneously. What is the difference in supporting abortions and denying people of health care coverage? They both kill people, young or older. Abortion opponents are not any better.

    November 19, 2009 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  15. mabel floyd

    i am sick of these bossy people who say that they will not be deterred when it comes to paying for abortion or anything else they disagree with--however i disagreed with the war with iraq–does not matter my money is being used to kill in a war begun to assuage the ego of a man who stole the presidency.
    the very people who decry government intervention into the lies of americans–are the very people who want the law to make sure they are in charge in every bedroom in the usa. they want to be sure every one has to adhere to their view of the beginnings of life and also when the end of life is at had.
    what a disgusting bunch of people.-don't want an abortion? DO NOT HAVE ONE!!!!

    November 19, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  16. load3d

    ok so add another line to my 1040 asking if I support abortion rights or not, and I'll pay my share of the gov't subsidized tax.

    November 19, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  17. mrs b

    I would like to think that safe and legal abortion will be covered in the final bill. I would also like to think that all senators and congressional representatives will realize that women's reproductive health is part of the larger health care debate. I urge my Senators from TN to cross party lines and do the right thing for women.

    November 19, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  18. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    That is about right, anti-choice "christians" willing to throw all the uninsured children living in poverty to the lions, as long as they can save a zygote which may be brought into this world and die due to lack of good prenatal care and no "well baby" health insurance.

    Again, this heathen is confused by your "living like Christ" examples!

    November 19, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  19. Wanda, DC

    How about we just stay out of decisions between the doctor and patient in all instances period. I won't take away your choice to take Viagra and you don't take away my choice to decide what to do with my private parts.

    November 19, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  20. Donald

    Abortion is the murder of the unborn. However that is between that expecting mother and God. That being said, tax payers money should not be use to subsidize a person's act of murdering the unborn. If a woman so desire to get rid of that fetus (baby in the womb) she should use her own money apart from the taxes that we all pay. I don't want my tax dollars to to use to pay for murder.

    November 19, 2009 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  21. S.B.

    What ever happened to the idea of letting women make their own decisions when it comes to abortion? If people don't believe in abortions, they don't have to have one, but why should they be able to foist their will on everyone else. Most of these people so opposed to abortion rights are men. There are so many intolerant people in this country that it makes me sick!

    November 19, 2009 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  22. phoenix86

    Pelosi and Obama are practically abortionists. Shamefull.

    November 19, 2009 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  23. Leonard Fitts

    These people are incredible hypocrites..they argue all day long that they don't want to get between a patient and their doctor UNTIL a woman wants to control her own body..then all bets are off. Are they that stupid or that hypocritical..and which is worse??

    November 19, 2009 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  24. thinkerone

    Pro-life supporters are referred to in the headline of this CNN article as "Abortion Rights Opponents". The language itself is biased so that readers immediately think of these individuals in a negative light. Anyone who's an opponent of "rights" has to be bad, right? Hey, CNN, how about using unbiased terminology. Even "abortion opponents" is better than "abortion RIGHTS opponents".
    Headline should begin "Abortion Opponents ..... "

    November 19, 2009 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  25. liz

    I'll bet these anti-choice people are all perfectly ok with our tax dollars going to pay for an illegal, unnecessary war in which tens of thousands of real people have died. The height of their hypocrisy never ceases to amaze me. These are the same people who want to do away with head start and other programs that benefit kids. 'Life is sacred, then you're born.' I hope the health care bill actually covers all health care, not just what the crazies consider health care.

    November 19, 2009 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
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