For Immediate Release: August 16, 2010
Contact: Diane Gramley 1.814.271.9078
AFA of PA President Joins SBA-List Stop in Meadville
(Franklin) — Diane Gramley, president of the AFA of PA joined the Susan B. Anthony List “Votes Have Consequences: Abortion is Not Health Care” bus tour at Bicentennial Park in Meadville on Monday morning. This was part of a 23-city bus tour across Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylania targeting the districts of ‘pro-life’ Democrats who voted for the so-called health car reform bill in March.
Following are Gramley’s remarks:
“After a contentious health care debate marked by Cornhusker Kickbacks and Louisiana Purchases, the health care bill passed on March 22nd by a vote of 219-212. The following day President Obama signed the health care bill into law still assuring Americans that the new law would not use taxpayer dollars to fund abortions. On March 24th Obama, a usual ‘media hog,’ signed the greatly touted executive order that bought the needed pro-life Democrat votes, behind closed doors without the presence of media. The American Family Association of Pennsylvania noted then that Senator Bob Casey, Jr. and three of Pennsylvania’s Congressmen Chris Carney, Kathy Dahlkemper, Michael Doyle were among the fourteen invited guests. Four of Pennsylvania’s so-call pro-life Democratic politicians took part in this effort to further mislead Americans who truly oppose abortion.
Our messages here today are that votes DO have consequences and abortion is not healthcare. A question to those who voted for this bill: “If this executive order was really a means to stop federal health care dollars from being spent on abortion, why would Planned Parenthood applaud the passage of the bill?” In fact Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, said in a statement released shortly after passage that stopping the Stupak amendment was their top priority – well they succeeded and pro-life Democrats walked away with a worthless piece of paper in exchange for their votes. I said then, “This executive order is simply words void of meaning placed on a blank piece of paper for a feel good affect. An executive order cannot trump federal law” and I still stand by those words.
Executive Orders have a history of being overturned in court and can be rescinded at any president’s whim. A Congressional Research Service assessment commissioned by Sens. Enzi and Coburn concluded that the language in the health care bill and the Executive Order is insufficient at preventing taxpayer-funded abortions.
How has it played out so far? Pennsylvania will receive $160 million federal dollars to set up the high risk pool plan. The June 28th news release issued by the Department of Insurance very slyly omitted the word ‘abortion’ and used the words “much more” in the list of covered services, but a review of the plan showed that it wouldsubsidize all abortions except those for sex selections. In July the fat hit the fire as the saying goes!
Revelations that Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Maryland would include elective abortion coverage in their high risk pool plans caused the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to scramble and it now states that HHS guidelines will make sure Hyde amendment restrictions apply to these programs in the spirit of President Obama’s executive order — promising there would be no such funding of abortions within these programs.
But this change only came about after vigorous opposition from pro-life groups and the HHS statement was completely undermined by the White House’s statement that it was not a precedent for other programs or policies. This whole episode reveals just how vigilant the pro-life movement must be because the bill lacks any real legislative protections against taxpayer-funded abortions. Additionally, the Congressional Research Service said that “neither the restrictions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Presidential Executive Order 13535, nor the recently released HHS contract materials actually prohibit a state high-risk pool from covering elective abortions.”
Rep. Joe Pitts – PA’s 16th Congressional District– has offered a bill called the Protect Life Act (HR 5111), which would apply the Stupak-Pitts language to health care reform. However, the bill lacks Stupak’s support, who continues to insist that Obama’s order suffices.
As we’ve said votes have consequences: Bart Stupak has chosen not to run for re-election. Is there a message to deliver to “pro-life” Democrats who voted for the health care bill opening the door for our tax dollars to be used to kill babies in the womb? You will have an opportunity to deliver that message on November 2nd.”
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