Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), a self-proclaimed pro-life Democrat who now
embraces President Barack Obama's call for “common ground,” said
Wednesday that the issue of abortion should not bog down passage of a
health-care reform bill.
“It hasn’t been an impediment, and I don’t expect it to be and it
shouldn’t be. There is no reason why in a health-care bill we have to
have another debate about that issue (abortion),” Casey told
CNSNews.com in a conference-call discussion about health-care reform in
“I think it is abundantly clear what my position is on the issue of
abortion,” he added.
Casey has been clear about his opposition to abortion. The son of the
late pro-life Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Casey, Sen. Casey has held that
while the Constitution protects the right to privacy, it does not trump
the rights of the unborn.
Yet Casey’s statement that abortion should not impede health care
reform flies in the face of 19 pro-life Democrats in the House, who
recently sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
insisting that abortion funding should not be included in any
health-care reform bill.
In fact, CNSNews.com specifically asked Casey about the House members'
pledge to oppose any health-care bill that contains abortion funding:
"Nineteen pro-life House Democrats sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi
saying they would only support a health care package that
excludes' abortion from the scope of the plan. Do you agree? And will
you also only support a health reform plan that explicitly excludes
“I can’t speak for what the House is doing and what members are doing
in the House, but in the Senate, I don’t think that it (the abortion
issue) is going to be an impediment to getting this legislation
passed,” Casey told CNSNews.com
In their letter to Pelosi, the pro-life House Democratic claimed that a
health-care plan that mandates coverage for abortions would be an
The congressmen explained that without an explicit exclusion, abortion
could be federally funded as part of a government-subsidized health
care plan. “We want to ensure that the Health Benefits Advisory
Committee cannot recommend abortion services be included under covered
benefits or as part of a benefits package,” the House Democrats wrote.
“The health-care reform package produced by Congress will be landmark,
and with legislation as important as this, abortion must be addressed
clearly in the bill text,” the letter continued. The pro-life Demcrats
further explained that congressional funding restrictions on abortion
have “saved lives by reducing the number of abortions.”
While campaigning for his Senate seat, Casey supported overturning Roe
v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on
But more recently, Casey also supported then-presidential candidate
Barack Obama, who supports abortion rights.
As Casey told the Democratic National Convention last summer, “Barack
Obama and I have an honest disagreement on the issue of abortion. But
the fact that I’m speaking here tonight is testament to Barack’s
ability to show respect for the views of people who may disagree with
In January, Casey re-introduced the Pregnant Women Support Act (S.270),
which would provide assistance to pregnant women both before and after
“I introduce this bill with the deepest conviction that we can find
common ground,” Casey said at the time. “I believe that we can
transform this debate by focusing upon the issues that unite us, not
the issues that divide us.”
Obama also has called for “common ground” in the abortion debate, but
many pro-life conservatives reject the notion.
“Over the years, we have come to understand that a desire for common
ground translates into the view that principle must yield to
pragmatism, and after that, to acceptance of abortion in some cases and
after that, to abysmal defeat,” wrote American Life League president
Judie Brown in a May 29 column. “The common ground theory and those who
advocate it remind me of quicksand … the slow, certain sinking of truth
into the sands of deceit that clearly represent, among other things,
Date: July 2, 2009
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The IFRL is the largest grassroots pro-life organization in
Illinois. A non-profit organization, that serves as the state
coordinating body for local pro-life chapters representing thousands of
Illinois citizens working to restore respect for all human life in our
society. The IFRL is composed of people of different political
persuasions, various faiths and diverse economic, social and ethnic
backgrounds. Since 1973 the Illinois Federation for Right to Life has
been working to end abortion and restore legal protection to those members of the
human family who are threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Diverse though we are, we hold one common belief - that
every human being has an inalienable right to life that is precious and must be protected. IFRL is
dedicated to restoring the right to life to the unborn, and protection
for the disabled and the elderly. Click here to learn more about the IFRL.