Obama: “Let’s Not Get Distracted” over Taxpayer-Funded Abortion Coverage in Healthcare

13,000+ registered for "Stop the Abortion Mandate" webcast tomorrow
Wed Jul 22, 2009 - 12:15 pm EST

By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 22, 2009 ( - In a CBS Evening News interview yesterday evening, President Obama dodged a question on his position regarding taxpayer-funded abortion coverage in the healthcare bill, saying only that concerned citizens should not get "distracted" with the contents of the new healthcare's essential package.

Despite Obama's dismissal of the issue, the warnings of pro-life groups and lawmakers decrying the "FOCA by stealth" hidden in the healthcare overhaul have spread rapidly across the nation in recent days, and are increasingly attracting the notice of the mainstream media.  Many sources are now questioning whether the abortion mandate controversy could play a significant role in the legislation's ultimate defeat. A giant pro-life webcast on the legislation, scheduled for tomorrow night and featuring an "all-star" pro-life cast, has already seen 13,000+ people sign up.

CBS News anchor Katie Couric posed the question to the President: "Do you favor a government option that would cover abortions?"

Obama answered: "What I think is important, at this stage, is not trying to micromanage what benefits are covered. Because I think we're still trying to get a framework. And my main focus is making sure that people have the options of high quality care at the lowest possible price."

"Rather than wade into that issue at this point, I think that it's appropriate for us to figure out how to just deliver on the cost savings, and not get distracted by the abortion debate at this station," he said.

Pro-life lawmakers in both the House and the Senate have offered several amendments that would have explicitly excluded abortion from the bill, as well as protect conscience rights of doctors objecting to abortion.  All such amendments were rejected. 

The only direct statement Obama has made regarding abortion's role in the health legislation came before he was elected during a July 2007 Q&A session before the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, where Obama called abortion"at the center, the heart of" his healthcare overhaul. 

President Obama also noted in the interview with Couric that "we also have a tradition of, in this town (Washington D.C.), historically, of not financing abortions as part of government funded health care."

Ironically, however, in his budget proposals earlier this year, the president recommended the abolition of a long-standing ban on the government subsidizing of abortion-on-demand in Washington, D.C.  Despite strenuous protest from pro-life leaders, the ban was accordingly struck down in the House of Representatives last week. 

Pro-life leaders across America are urging constituents to register for and attend the "Stop the Abortion Mandate" webcast tomorrow evening.  The webcast will begin at 9 p.m. Eastern, 6 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, and will feature such pro-life luminaries as:

* Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family 
* Dr. Charmaine Yoest, Americans United for Life 
Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life 
* Wendy Wright, Concerned Women for America 
* Tony Perkins, Family Research Council 
* Peggy Hartshorn, Heartbeat International 
* Dr. Richard Land, Southern Baptist Convention ERLC 
Melinda Delahoyde, Care Net 
* Jim Sedlak, American Life League/STOPP 
* Kristan Hawkins, Students for Life 
* Congressman Chris Smith
  and more… 

Organizers say that, with more than 13,000 people already signed up, the webcast is set to become "the single largest pro-life web event in history." 

For more information on the healthcare abortion mandate and webcast

See related coverage:

White House Claim: Obama Made Same Abortion Pledge to Both Pope and Planned Parenthood 

House Approves Publicly-Funded Abortions in D.C., Cans D.C. School-Vouchers 

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