Communications Department

Sestak Voted Against Amendment to Prevent Federal Funding of Abortion – But Now He Brazenly Misrepresents His Record

Oct 22, 2010 | 2010 Press Releases

WASHINGTON (October 22, 2010) – The clearest, most important vote to occur in years in the U.S. House of Representatives on the issue of federal funding of abortion was conducted on November 7, 2009, when the House voted on the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to the pending health care restructuring bill (H.R. 3962). The amendment passed the House 240 to 194. No Republican opposed it, and it was also supported by 64 Democrats – fully one-quarter of all of the Democrats in the House. Of the 19 House members from Pennsylvania, 14 voted for the Stupak-Pitts Amendment – including seven of the 12 Democrats.

But Congressman Joe Sestak was not among them. Sestak voted against the Stupak-Pitts Amendment. [House roll call no. 884, Nov. 7, 2009.] He thereby voted to leave untouched multiple pro-abortion provisions in the bill, including language that would have explicitly authorized a proposed new insurance program, operated directly by the federal government (the so-called “public option”) to pay for all elective abortions.

Now, Sestak is trying to rewrite history. In a debate on October 20, 2010, Sestak asserted “I voted against taxpayers funding it [abortion].” When his opponent challenged this statement, Sestak insisted, “Congressman Toomey, I voted against it.”

Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), commented, “Sestak has voted pro-abortion 100 percent throughout his time in Congress, so his vote for government funding of abortion on demand last November was not surprising – what is remarkable is the brazenness of his attempt to mislead voters. Under the legislation Sestak supported, the Secretary of Health and Human Services would have been sending checks to abortionists from the U.S. Treasury to pay for elective abortions.”

Pro-abortion groups have long recognized Sestak as a lock-step ally for their legislative agenda. Ted Miller, director of communications for NARAL was quoted in Womensenews as saying, “voters can count on Joe Sestak to be consistently pro-choice.” [5/18/10]

Although the Stupak-Pitts Amendment passed the House (despite Sestak’s opposition), no similar provision was contained in the different health care bill (H.R. 3590) that passed the Senate in December. A group of House Democrats led by Rep. Bart Stupak refused to support H.R. 3590 for months because of its pro-abortion provisions, as they insisted that the Stupak-Pitts language must be restored – but on March 21, 2010, some of them flip-flopped and voted for the bill anyway, including Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Pa.). Of course, Sestak also voted to pass the bill, but he was not part of the group that for months withheld support because of the lack of an effective prohibition on federal subsidies for abortion — the very type of prohibition that he had voted against on November 7, 2009.

NRLC is the federation of state right-to-life organizations, including the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation. The political arm of NRLC, the National Right to Life PAC, is the nation’s largest pro-life political action committee. NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson and other experts on congressional legislation pertaining to abortion are available for interviews and broadcast debates on federal funding of abortion and related issues. In addition, NRLC has available a wealth of documentation regarding the pro-abortion components of the health care law, including a sworn affidavit and supporting documents ( recently submitted to the Ohio Elections Commission.

To arrange an interview with or appearance by an NRLC spokesperson, call 202-626-8825 or send email to

The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life groups and more than 3,000 local chapters nationwide, is the nation’s largest pro-life group. National Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect those threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide.