WASHINGTON -- The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of right-to-life organizations in the 50 states, issued the following statement regarding today's actions in the House of Representatives on the health care restructuring legislation, H.R. 3962.
The House adopted the NRLC-backed Stupak-Pitts Amendment, 240-194. The Stupak-Pitts Amendment removed two major pro-abortion components from H.R. 3962. Specifically: (1) the amendment would permanently prohibit the new federal government insurance program, the "public option," from paying for abortion, except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest; and (2) the amendment would permanently prohibit the use of the new federal premium subsidies ("affordability credits") to purchase private insurance plans that cover abortion (except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest). The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mi.) and Joe Pitts (R-Pa.). It was supported by 176 Republicans and 64 Democrats. It was opposed by 194 Democrats. One Republican withheld his support by voting "present."
NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson said: "The Obama White House and top congressional Democratic leaders spent months concealing and misrepresenting provisions that would directly fund abortions through a government plan, and subsidize premiums for private abortion plans. Today's bipartisan House vote is a sharp blow to the White House's pro-abortion smuggling operation. But we know that the White House and pro-abortion congressional Democratic leaders will keep trying to enact government funding of abortion, and will keep trying to conceal their true intentions, so there is a long battle ahead."
The Associated Press reported, "Abortion rights advocates called the measure the biggest setback to women's reproductive rights in decades."
In addition to working hard to remove abortion subsidies from the bill, NRLC has sought to educate lawmakers and the public about components of H.R. 3962 that could result in rationing or discriminatory denial of lifesaving medical care. A letter sent by NRLC to the House late today, summarizing objectionable elements of the amended bill, is posted here. The letter states: "We will continue to work to correct provisions that we find objectionable in this area, both in the health care legislation that will come before the Senate, and in any conference committee on health care legislation. We reserve the right to score the roll call vote on the conference report, or on any Senate-passed bill, if these concerns are not adequately resolved."
An archive of NRLC letters to Congress and other documents regarding the abortion-related components of the legislation are posted here.