Conservative Democrats Warn Against Funding Abortion in Healthcare Reform

19 congressional Democrats write to Pelosi to say reform must not lead to government-funded abortion.

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By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

The Family Research Council isn't usually in the business of praising Democrats. But it's giving props to 19 House Dems for writing to Speaker Nancy Pelosi to say that healthcare reform must avoid ushering in government-funded abortion.

It will be fascinating to watch how the abortion-rights community responds as more and more abortion opponents raise the issue, now that President Obama's healthcare reform drive is running full-tilt.

Here's the letter:

June 25, 2009

Dear Honorable Pelosi:

As the debate on health care reform continues and legislation is produced, it is imperative that the issue of abortion not be overlooked. Plans to mandate coverage for abortions, either directly or indirectly is unacceptable.

We believe in a culture that supports and respects the right to life and is dedicated to the protection and preservation of families. Therefore, we cannot support any health care reform proposal unless it explicitly excludes abortion from the scope of any government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan. We believe that a government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan, should not be used to fund abortion.

Furthermore, we want to ensure that the Health Benefits Advisory Committee cannot recommend abortion services be included under covered benefits or as part of a benefits package. Without an explicit exclusion, abortion could be included in a government subsidized health care plan under general health care. The health care reform package produced by Congress will be landmark, and with legislation as important as this, abortion must be addressed clearly in the bill text.

Furthermore, funding restrictions save lives by reducing the number of abortions. The Guttmacher Policy Review, a leading pro-choice research organization noted "that about one third of women who would have had an abortion if support were available carried their pregnancies to term when the abortion fund was unavailable."

Thank you for taking the time to consider our request. By ensuring that abortions are not funded through any health care reform package, we will take this controversial issue off the table so that Congress can focus on crafting a broadly-supported health care reform bill.

Respectfully yours,

Reps. Dan Boren (D-OK); Bart Stupak (D-MI); Colin Peterson (D-MN); Tim Holden (D-PA); Travis Childers (D-MS); Lincoln Davis (D-TN); Heath Shuler (D-NC) Solomon Ortiz (D-TX); Mike McIntyre (D-NC); Jerry Costello (D-IL); Gene Taylor (D-MS); James Oberstar (D-MN); Bobby Bright (D-AL); Steve Driehaus (D-OH); Marcy Kaptur (D-OH); Charlie Melancon (D-LA); John Murtha (D-PA); Paul Kanjorski (D-PA); and Kathleen Dahlkemper (D-PA).