Some media gloss is wearing off President Barack Obama as messiah-of-hope-and-change following the loss of governorships to the Republican Party in Virginia and New Jersey, and the defeat of same-sex marriage by a convincing 53 per cent vote in Maine, not to mention Obama’s failure to secure the 2016 Olympic Games for Chicago despite a personal plea to the Olympic Committee meeting in Copenhagen.
Pro-lifers are cautiously celebrating the passage, 240 votes to 194 in the House of Representatives, of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to Obama’s Health Care Bill. This amendment aims to eliminate government funding of abortions. Meanwhile, infuriated pro-abortion lobbies have vowed to eliminate Stupak-Pitts in the Senate or during the committee process which reconciles House and Senate versions of the bill.
Pro-life celebrations, however, are subdued because there are many serious deficiencies in Obama’s bill, including the enormous cost in trillions of dollars, the rationing of services for seniors, cuts in Medicare payments to doctors, funding of IVF, contraceptive services and over-explicit sex education, and the creation of huge bureaucracies to administer legislation of nearly 2,000 pages.
The debate on the Health Care Bill has illustrated Obama’s capacity to speak out of both sides of his mouth. He has demonstrated this before in statements during his election campaign that he believed marriage should be between a man and a woman, and at the same time assuring the homosexual lobby he wanted to repeal the federal Defence of Marriage Act which prohibited recognition of same-sex “marriages”.
Similarly, he was the only senator to vote against the 2002 Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, claiming it conflicted with the US Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision to legalise abortion. In fact, the act was actually aimed at preventing infanticide, i.e., the denial of treatment to babies born alive after abortion, who are entitled to the same medical care as other premature babies of the same gestational age.
In his contorted statements on the anti-abortion amendment to the Health Care Bill, Obama has displayed confidence that the mainstream media will not challenge his contradictory statements. First, he claimed that the 1976 Hyde Amendment already prevented abortion funding in the bill and, when impartial analysts said it did not, Obama said the bill was about health care, not abortion.
Obama and House of Representaitves Speaker Nancy Pelosi were reluctant to allow a vote on the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, until the US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement saying they would not approve the Health Care Bill unless abortion funding was eliminated. Pro-life Democrats, headed by Bart Stupak, also held firm and said they would vote against the bill unless a vote on Stupak-Pitts Amendment was allowed.
Desperate to get a bill passed in the House, Pelosi allowed the vote. After the amendment passed, Obama, in response to a question by the ABC’s Jake Tapper about whether Stupak-Pitts went too far, made another convoluted statement.
He said: “I want to make sure … we are not in some way sneaking in funding for abortions, but, on the other hand, we’re not restricting women’s insurance choices, because one of the pledges I made in that same speech was to say that if you’re happy and satisfied with the insurance you have, it’s not going to change.
“So, you know, this is going to be a complex set of negotiations. I’m confident we can actually arrive at this place where neither side feels it’s being betrayed. But it’s going to take some time. I think there are strong feelings on both sides. And what that tells me is there needs to be some more work before we get to the point where we’re not changing the status quo.”
Obama’s record is of someone who wants federal funding of abortion without having to pay a political price. As a presidential candidate, Obama pledged in a 2007 speech to Planned Parenthood that “reproductive care”, including coverage for abortion, was “at the centre, the heart of the plan I propose”.
Specifically, the Stupak-Pitts Amendment makes sure that the public option and the affordability credits in the bill are not used to allow the government to pay for abortions with federal funds.
Pro-abortion groups and law-makers claim it goes much further. Pro-abortion Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) said that the Stupak-Pitts Amendment “puts new restrictions on women’s access to abortion coverage in the private health insurance market even when they would pay premiums with their own money”.
Not so, says Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning web site, which called Lowey’s claim “false”. Nevertheless, pro-abortion senators have vowed to vote against the bill if it has Stupak-Pitts in it. Pro-abortion organisations, sounding almost hysterical, have threatened a revolt within the Democratic Party. Bart Stupak is equally determined to vote against any bill that comes back to the House without his amendment.
It is going to be a bumpy ride for “Obamacare”.
Babette Francis, B.Sc. (Hons) is national co-ordinator of Endeavour Forum Inc.