Obama Puts Politics Above Principle in Abortion Coverage

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Overhauling our health care
system is a moral imperative; we are failing as a nation to care for our people
in the most basic way. How
we rehaul our health care system will show whether we are willing to live up to
our principles and commitments. President Obama has repeatedly stated he is
"pro-choice," yet in an interview July 22 with CBS' "Evening
News," he said that lawmakers should "not get distracted by the
abortion debate" as they weigh health reform legislation. This is
troubling.

President Obama's reply to "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric was
careful. He did not dismiss the possibility of abortion coverage, nor did he
use the issue to stir up political passions. However, he put politics before
principle - and before health care. (Reproductive health care is basic health
care for women and it includes abortion, which is a medical
procedure.) Perhaps this is to be expected in this politically
charged environment. However, it is a great disappointment to those of us
hoping for presidential leadership.

When asked by Ms. Couric if he would favor a government option that would cover
abortions, President Obama replied what he thinks is "important, at this
stage, is not trying to micro-manage what benefits are covered." He also
said, "As you know, I'm pro-choice. But I think we also have the tradition
of, in this town, historically, of not financing abortions as part of
government-funded health care." It was our hope that President
Obama would change this attitude and consider abortion as a health care
issue. It is distressing to hear President Obama reinforcing that way of
thinking.

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