Blue Dogs Bark

Blue Dog

 

Hattip to Creative Minority Report.  19 Blue Dog pro-life Democrats have sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi advising her that they will vote against National Health Care if it does not exclude abortion funding.  Here is the letter:

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).

Now these are my type of Democrats!  May their efforts be crowned by success  in the increasingly unlikely event that National Health Care passes.

8 Responses to Blue Dogs Bark

  • Mark DeFrancisis says:

    Bravo to these men and women! Let us pray that they have the courage and integrity to remain steadfast in their convictions.

    Bur where is Jason Altmire, Blue Dog from Western PA?

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    Yes, this is good news. Two items of pro-life good news in one day!

    The other to which I refer is my home state of AZ banning partial birth abortion and finally establishing a 24 hour waiting period wherein all alternatives to abortion are presented to pregnant women.

    A good day indeed.

  • Eric Brown says:

    I did note this the day after it happened, having been alerted via Democrats for Life. I, too, commend these Representatives.

    Though…

    Last month, I was alerted to the news that a primary — perhaps not anymore since a new bill was introduced today — House health care bill (852 pages that I’m sure that has not been read by anyone) that is the project of Reps. George Miller (D-CA), Henry Waxman (D-CA), and Charlie Rangel (D-NY) contains mandatory “family planning” funding that would ensure tax dollars for abortion providers, namely Planned Parenthood. To my knowledge, this has not been changed — which further underscores the necessity of pro-life Democrats to threaten to abandon the bill. By most DFLA estimates, there were about 30-35 pro-life Democrats in the House prior to the November election and now it is in the same range, or approximately, 40 at the most liberal estimate. I hope that last number, or any number over 35, is accurate because it would mean an almost sure defeat of the bill as even the Democratic majority could not withstand such a loss of its own members, pro-life or even pro-choice Democrats that would rather not “play politics” and override the Hyde Amendment by calling abortion “health care.”

    What is even more alarming, considering that such provisions have not been removed, is the primary Senate health care bill being led by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA). Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MA), who is Catholic, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labors, and Pensions (HELP) Committee admitted that certain language in the bill that would force health insurance companies to contract with groups like Planned Parenthood.

    She was asked by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) would the bill be inclusive to abortion providers and stumbled in her reply.

    “It would include women’s health clinics that provide comprehensive services and under the definition of a woman’s health clinic, it would include, uh, it would include, uh, Planned, uh, Parenthood clinics. It would, um, it does not expand in any way expand a service. In other words, it does not expand, um, uh, or mandate abortion service.”

    She only said the bill “would provide for any service deemed medically necessary or medically appropriate.” Inevitably, if the HHS Secretary in the Obama administration declared abortions “medically necessary or appropriate” then it would be the case.

    Sen. Hatch then asked if Sen. Mikulski if she would include language in the bill that is abortion-neutral, in exhange for some Republican support of the bill.

    He asked this way: “Madam Chairman, would you be willing to put some language in [about] not including abortion services? Then I think you would have more support.”

    She responded, “No, I would not, uh, be willing to do that at this time.”

    The HELP committee, after this issue was brought up, brought the matter up to a vote between the 23 Senators. A provision to include abortion in the Senate health care bill passed by 12-11 with 10 Republicans and 1 Democrat, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) opposing it, whom has been voting more consistently pro-life since being admonished by his Bishop.

    So, we have a problem of two bills (unless the new House bill has gone in the other direction) that have language inclusive of abortion services, which I think, will ultimately kill the legislation all together — which, as an advocate, of health care reform I think is both childish and imprudent on the part of Democratic leadership.

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    Interesting information Eric. I think national health care is in trouble currently due to fluctuating cost estimates. I suspect that the Blue Dogs will hang tough on abortion, mostly, I trust, out of principle, but also because I think 2010 may be shaping up as a good year for Republicans, and Blue Dogs in Republican leaning districts can garner some protection in those areas with a strong pro-life record.

  • Andy K. says:

    Didn’t Altmire pull a Casey and support some pro-abort bill?

    Anyway, I don’t see my pro-life Dem congressman, Dan Lipinski, anywhere on that list, either…and he’s got a 100% NRTL rating, too. John Bochierri of OH isn’t on the list, either. Hmm…well, as long as they come through and vote “no” on the legislation if it contains abortion funding, no complaints on my end.

  • Elaine Krewer says:

    Well, I’m going to make a good pro-life news trifecta… an Illinois court has FINALLY allowed the state’s parental notification law to be enforced, 14 years after it originally was passed and signed into law — it’s been held up in court ever since. Don’t know if this is absolutely the last word on the subject, though, but it’s good news nonetheless.

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