President Obama promised taxpayer funds would not pay for abortion if the Democrats' health care legislation were passed. "Under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions," he said during his Sept. 9 address to Congress. That was then.
This is now. On Sunday, White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod told CNN that Mr. Obama will make sure that the Stupak amendment, which would restrict federal funding for abortions, is stripped from final legislation. Without a ban on abortion funding, the government health care bill never would have passed the House, where a switch of three votes on Nov. 7 would have made the difference.
A national survey was released right as the president was addressing Congress, which may explain his swerving around on the issue. According to a poll by Public Opinion Strategies, 43 percent of adult voters would be less likely to support a health care bill that funds abortions. In contrast, only 8 percent would be more supportive.
Parliamentary shenanigans were employed to sneak the bill through the lower chamber. Some of the Democratic members who voted for the Stupak amendment "didn't really mean it, because they expected the amendment to be stripped out later," according to the Wall Street Journal. Politico also ran a story on Saturday quoting unnamed "Democratic budget experts in Congress and the administration" who claimed that if a filibuster-proof reconciliation bill is used to get the health care legislation through, Democrats will easily strip out the pro-life amendment.
The liberal Democratic leadership in Congress knows full well where Americans stand on this issue. That is why they did not come out in the open to defend their position in favor of federal abortion funding and instead engaged in subterfuge to get legislation through the House. Republicans don't have the votes to stop the bill no matter what it contains. It is up to moderate Democratic senators such as Nebraska's Ben Nelson to prevent the government from forcing taxpayers to pay for others' abortions.