Monday, November 09, 2009

Is Obama getting squishy on abortion?

Remember this?

Here is the President speaking on September 9 before a joint session of Congress:
And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up – under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.
Sounds pretty definite, doesn't it?

Yet, here is the President's press spokesman today.
When asked whether the president supported Rep. Bart Stupak's (D-Mich.) amendment to prohibit the public insurance plan from covering abortion services, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs dodged the question -- multiple times.

"Well, ask me that right before Christmas and the end of the New Year," Gibbs said during today's press briefing, noting the president still expected to sign a healthcare bill before the year's end.

The press secretary later clarified, "We will work on this and continue to seek consensus and common ground."

....But Gibbs on Monday offered little insight into whether the president would meet with pro-life or pro-choice House members in the coming days, much less where Obama -- who emphasized his pro-choice positions on the campaign trail in 2008 -- might ultimately side in the new debate.

"I'm going to leave it at the earlier answer that we're going to continue to work through and make progress on these issues," he repeated to reporters.
Sounds rather mushy, doesn't it? Sounds like another promise Obama is willing to go back on, if he has to. He's sounding tough when he talks to Jake Tapper today, but he still is leaving the door open for further negotiations to make both pro-choice and pro-life people happy. He's not going to be able to find some magic language that both funds abortion with federal dollars and doesn't fund it. And that is what the debate is about.

You know the pro-choice Democrats who are so outraged by the Stupak amendment and making threats about voting against the bill if it remains in are betraying that they don't really believe that private insurance companies will remain in business after Obamacare passes. If they truly believed it, they wouldn't be so upset about the Stupak amendment which is about maintaining the status quo of the Hyde Amendment which is what we have now - no federal funding of abortions. But private insurance policies could still fund abortions. That's the situation we have now. If the Democrats believed all their promises about how they're just offering a choice to health insurance and that no one's private health insurance would change under their plans, they would be willing to vote for the Stupak Amendment. People could get the private plans if abortion coverage was so important to them.

But if, as conservatives argue, the federal option will soon crowd out private plans and eventually be our sole choice for health insurance as private plans find they can't compete with a public plan that can regulate prices and use the taxpayers' money to make up shortfalls, then those who want an abortion plan wouldn't be able to depend on their private options.

The fact that pro-choice Democrats are so outraged indicates that they don't truly believe their soothing promises about how nothing will change about our private plans once a public option is enacted.

However, one more thing I don't believe is that these 41 Democrats who are writing Nancy Pelosi with their threats will remain strong about not voting for a conference report that doesn't include funding of abortion. If a conference bill does come out with what the Democrats want otherwise, they'll swallow hard and vote for it, holding onto the faith that they'll be able to slip abortion funding in later.