Tag Archives: health care reform

NRLC responds to Obama “fabrication” charge

For immediate release:
Wednesday, August 19, 2009      


 WASHINGTON (August 19, 2009) — In a conference call with supporters this afternoon, President Obama said that it is a “fabrication” to say that the legislation backed by the White House would result in “government funding of abortions,” and that this is “untrue.”  The following comment may be attributed to Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the national federation of state and local right-to-life organizations:

 Emboldened by the recently demonstrated superficiality of some organs of the news media, President Obama today brazenly misrepresented the abortion-related component of the health care legislation that his congressional allies and staff have crafted.  As amended by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on July 30 (the Capps-Waxman Amendment), the bill backed by the White House (H.R. 3200) explicitly authorizes the government plan to cover all elective abortions.  Obama apparently seeks to hide behind a technical distinction between tax funds and government-collected premiums.  But these are merely two types of public funds, collected and spent by government agencies.  The Obama-backed legislation makes it explicitly clear that no citizen would be allowed to enroll in the government plan unless he or she is willing to give the federal agency an extra amount calculated to cover the cost of all elective abortions — this would not be optional.  The abortionists would bill the federal government and would be paid by the federal government.  These are public funds, and this is government funding of abortion.

 In 2007 Obama explicitly pledged to Planned Parenthood that the public plan will cover abortions (see the video clip here).  Some journalists have reported that Obama “backed off” of this commitment in an interview with Katie Couric of CBS News, broadcast July 21, but Obama actually carefully avoided stating his intentions — instead, he simply made an artful observation that “we also have a tradition of, in this town, historically, of not financing abortions as part of government funded health care.”

 It is true that there is such a tradition — which Obama has always opposed, and which the Obama-backed bill would shatter.

On August 13, NRLC released a detailed memo explaining the provisions of the pending bills that would affect abortion policy, with citations to primary sources. Many of the “factcheck” articles that have appeared in the news media in recent weeks reflect, at best, unsophisticated understandings of the provisions they purport to be explaining, and also give evidence of a weak understanding of Obama’s history on the policy issues involved.  The memo is downloadable in PDF format here:


 The National Right to Life Committee is the nation’s largest pro-life group is a federation of affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide.  National Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect those threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide.

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Letter to the NYTimes Editor

August 17, 2009

 Letters to the Editor
The New York Times
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018

 Dear Editor,

  I was saddened to read “False ‘Death Panel’ Rumor Has Familiar Roots” in the Friday (August 14, 2009) edition of the Times.  Rather than examine the actual text of the bills, the Times simply editorialized against opponents of provisions within the health care proposals currently being considered.  The opening paragraph reads like something that might be uttered by Robert Gibbs during the daily press briefing in the West Wing. The job description of the White House Press Secretary and an independent newspaper are not one in the same, and by continuing to justify rather than report on this administration’s agenda the Times is failing it readership.

What the Times calls “rumors,” in fact, have some roots in a piece which the Times itself published.   That item, interestingly omitted from the article’s chronology of the rising “specter of government-sponsored, forced euthanasia,” was a 5,000-word feature piece published in the New York Times Magazine on July 19th by Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer, openly advocating the rationing of healthcare on the basis of QALYs, a measurement of one’s “quality-adjusted-life-year.”

As National Right to Life has noted in its analysis of the current proposal before the House, there is no protection to prevent Comparative Effectiveness Research from being used to discriminatorily deny healthcare based on age, present or predicted disability or expected length of life. To insist that this is a dangerous omission which could allow comparative effectiveness to be used to deny care to the most vulnerable patients is not fear-mongering, it is a realistic concern. Perhaps if the Times was not so ideologically invested in promoting this administration’s agenda they would be able to see that as well.


Derrick Jones
Communications Director
National Right to Life

Health Care Reform Webinar

From NRLC’s Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics, a new webinar on health care reform entitled “How America Can Afford Health Care Reform Without Rationing.”  The webinar runs just over an hour.  You can download a copy of the Powerpoint Slides here:  HCWebinarSlides