Abortion returns to campaign forefront

July 20, 2010 06:33

An Obama administration effort to rein in states treading toward using new health care laws to fund abortions – and provide political cover for pro-life Democrats – reignited a politically explosive issue that Republicans and pro-life activists are eager to exploit in the lead-up to the fall midterm elections.

By Sean Lengell at Washington Times

Seizing on a Health and Human Services Department announcement last week that states must comply with a White House executive order that prohibits most abortion coverage in government-backed insurance pools, anti-abortion groups and Republicans see more ammunition in their effort to rally pro-life voters to the polls.

“You cannot exchange 30 years of pro-life protections in the law for a piece of paper signed by the president of the United States,” said Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, chairman of the House Republican Conference.

Douglas Johnson, legislative director for National Right to Life Committee, an anti-abortion group, acknowledged that his side had won a round.

“If they now do what they say they are going to do, that would be good,” Mr. Johnson said of the Obama administration. “But in our view, they are doing it because the spotlight has been put on them, and we blew the whistle.”

The thorny abortion issue almost derailed President Obama’s health care overhaul earlier this year, as many conservative House Democrats threatened to withhold support if the measure called for spending federal dollars on abortions.


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