By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
House Minority Leader John Boehner last night vowed to pass a bill repealing President Obama's healthcare reform plan if the Republicans win control of the House in the fall elections. "If we win the majority we will have a bill on the floor to repeal the bill and replace it with common sense reforms," he told Whispers. "I don't know what happens in the Senate or the White House but we're going to do everything we can that this bill never, ever goes into effect," he says.
Of particular concern is the bill's language allowing for some public funding of abortion practices and advice. "We haven't had publicly funded abortion for 30 years. This is a very big change, it's unfortunate," he said.
Boehner took aim at the abortion provision because he was the recipient last night of the 2010 Henry J. Hyde Defender of Life Award presented annually by Americans United for Life. The group's president, Charmaine Yoest, heaped praise on Boehner who has rarely tried to make abortion a political cornerstone of his career or profile. "John Boehner has joined to take a stand for life," she said, noting that he prefers to work in the less "glamorous" area of legislation than grab headlines. For his part, Boehner said that he doesn't look at the issue politically.
"It's never been a political issue for me. It's been a moral issue." During the ceremony and afterward in an interview, he choked back tears as he recalled his friendship with the late Rep. Hyde and how his mother gave birth to 11 kids "one at a time." He added: "She didn't have to do that," but still Boehner said that he "was glad I was second."