Communications Department

NRLC: Reid Abortion Language “Completely Unacceptable”

Nov 18, 2009 | 2009 Press Releases

To view or download a november 20, 2009 letter from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to the Senate condemning the abortion language in the Reid bill, click here.

National Right to Life Committee Rejects Reid Abortion Funding Language as “Completely Unacceptable,” Calls for Enactment of Stupak-Pitts Amendment

WASHINGTON (November 18, 2009) — The following statement was issued by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of right-to-life organizations in all 50 states, and may be attributed to NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.) has rejected the bipartisan Stupak-Pitts Amendment and has substituted completely unacceptable language that would result in coverage of abortion on demand in two big new federal government programs.

Reid seeks to cover elective abortions in two big new federal health programs, but tries to conceal that unpopular reality with layers of contrived definitions and hollow bookkeeping requirements.

Rep. Lois Capps (D-Ca.), who has a 100% pro-abortion voting record, said in a press release following release of the Reid language: “It appears that their approach closely mirrors my language which was originally included in the House bill.” The Capps language referred to was opposed by NRLC and other pro-life organizations and was deleted by the House by a vote of 240-194 on November 7, as 64 Democrats (one fourth of all House Democrats), along with 176 Republicans, voted to replace it with the Stupak-Pitts Amendment.

The Stupak-Pitts Amendment would prevent federal subsidies for abortion by applying the principles of longstanding federal laws such as the Hyde Amendment to the new programs created by the health care legislation. Those principles prohibit both direct funding of abortion procedures, and subsidies for plans that cover elective abortions, in existing federal programs such as Medicaid, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, and the military.

Regrettably but predictably, Reid rejected the bipartisan Stupak-Pitts language. Instead, Reid has sought to please the militant minority that demands funding of abortion through federal programs, even though substantial majorities of Americans believe that abortion should be excluded from government-funded and government-sponsored health programs.

The Reid bill establishes a big new federal health insurance program, the public option (although now referred to in Reid’s bill as the “community health insurance option”). The bill authorizes (on page 118) the federal Secretary of Health and Human Services to require coverage of any and all abortions throughout the public option program. This would be federal government funding of abortion, no matter how hard they try to disguise it.

In addition, the bill creates new tax-supported subsidies to purchase private health plans that will cover abortion on demand.

National Right to Life will continue to fight for the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, and to oppose the stubborn attempts of congressional Democratic leaders to establish new federal government programs that will fund coverage of elective abortions.

For extensive further documentation on the Stupak-Pitts Amendment and other aspects of the issue, visit the NRLC website at