This op-ed originally appeared in the Washington Examiner on April 19, 2009.
Obamacare’s abortion mantra: Safe, universal and paid for by you
By: Marjorie Dannenfelser
Citizens across America are storming town hall meetings to vent their concerns about health care reform. From end-of-life “counseling sessions” to its trillion-dollar price tag, folks have plenty of reasons to question the impact of Obamacare. The most recent problem for the President and his allies is the reality of an unprecedented regime of taxpayer-funded abortion on-demand.
We’ve entered a new era. The mantra of politicians in favor of abortion rights has moved far beyond the “safe, legal and rare” of the Clinton Administration. Today, Americans face the government-backed promotion of “safe, universal and paid for by you.” Yet national public opinion does not track with this new pro-abortion trend in our nation’s capital.
And it’s not just a problem in red states. Just last week Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) was challenged on the inclusion of elective abortion coverage in the health care reform.
She responded by stating that “abortion will be covered,” and that, in her opinion, “it should be.” Her constituents did not agree. Even in her San Jose district that voted 69% for Obama in 2008 and 63% for John Kerry in 2004, a regime of taxpayer-funded abortion on-demand just doesn’t resonate.
The truth of ‘choice’ has been unmasked, and Americans don’t like what they see. Gallup reported in May that the number of Americans who call themselves “pro-life” has surpassed 50% for the first time in 10 years.
the polling company, inc./WomanTrend found similar results that yield even more compelling evidence of a growth in pro-life attitudes: Just seven of every one hundred Americans support the Obama-Pelosi creed of abortion at any time and for any reason.
When you go beyond the usual “pro-life or pro-choice” dichotomy to ask the degree to which Americans support abortion, 56% select what can be considered a “pro-life position.” Only 40% select what can be pegged as a “pro-choice” view.
What does this mean? It means that the majority of Americans believe abortion should only be legal in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother, or they believe it should not be permitted at all.
Even large segments of self-described ‘pro-choice’ Americans feel this way. There exists even greater opposition to the use of tax dollars to fund abortions.
The Obama administration’s attempt to press unfettered access to taxpayer-funded abortion on-demand flies in the face of public opinion. Yet the President and Congress appear blind to this incongruence with the majority of the American people, continuing their efforts to weave government-backed abortion into the fabric of American life.
Yet as the House and Senate churn out their versions of health care reform legislation, the silence on the abortion issue is deafening. Such silence is part of a strategy.
Without an explicit exclusion for abortion coverage in the legislation, government bureaucrats will be free to automatically define abortion as a mandatory health benefit. Such coverage would be at taxpayer expense, of course.
In the end, the legacy of the longstanding Hyde Amendment to restrict the use of federal taxpayer funds for abortion would be rendered meaningless.
President Obama and Congress are on a collision course with the majority of Americans who oppose abortion on-demand. Congress and the President should embrace policies that honor both mother and child, not fund abortion on-demand with taxpayer funds. Such a result would be true common ground policy, supported by an increasingly pro-life America.
Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of the Susan B. Anthony List and Kellyanne Conway is CEO and president of the polling company, inc.