Clues About Abortion Funding In Obama’s Health Care Reform

Feministing spotted Obama’s stance (or lack of one) on whether or not his health care reform will fund abortions in an interview with Katie Couric a week ago. Apparently, such funding wouldn’t fit with the "tradition" in our country.

Katie Couric: Do you favor a government option that would cover abortions?

President Obama: What I think is important, at this stage, is not trying to micromanage what benefits are covered. Because I think we’re still trying to get a framework. And my main focus is making sure that people have the options of high quality care at the lowest possible price.

As you know, I’m pro choice. But I think we also have a tradition of, in this town, historically, of not financing abortions as part of government funded health care. Rather than wade into that issue at this point, I think that it’s appropriate for us to figure out how to just deliver on the cost savings, and not get distracted by the abortion debate at this station.

One can’t help but be bemused; if I remember correctly, Obama ran on a platform of change, so at the very least shouldn’t he be reevaluating the validity of our country’s many traditions (in this case, the Hyde Amendment)? And at what point was breaking tradition ever a bad thing? Obama himself broke many traditions by becoming the first African American President, and that was only good news.

But then again, Obama is a smart politician; it looks like it’ll be difficult enough for him to get his health care reform passed, and saying it will fund abortions will just give right wing extremists fuel to combat the reform. Avoiding specific incendiary issues and appealing to "tradition" is a good strategy to push the broad idea of reform through. The end of Obama’s quote, where he says that we should "not get distracted by the abortion debate at this station" might suggest that the funding is a possibility, but only after the larger battle of health care reform is won.

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  • independentminded

    Since I have an innate ability to recognize patterns even before they happen, I saw all of this coming pretty much from the get-go. To be honest, I was leaning towards voting for Barack Obama in the POTUS Election, until he voted for the FISA Bill, which would expand the power of government to continue illegal wire-tapping and other forms of illegal spying on ordinary, everyday, average American citizens, and for the continued funding of our Iraq war even after Obama had gone on record as being opposed to that war. So saying, when Election Day arrived early last November, I wrote in my own ticket, instead of voting for the Obama/Biden ticket during last fall’s POTUS Election.


    The fact that Obama’s refused to release the torture photos, despite a world court order to do so , and is expanding and extending our war into Afghanistan and Pakistan also speaks volumes for him, but, back to the subject at hand:Even though I did a write-in at the polls last November instead of voting for the Obama/Biden ticket, I thought that Barack Obama would at least stand his ground on choice. I’m also not crazy about the healthcare plan that Obama wants passed. Frankly, I agree with Dennis Kucinich that single-payer Universal Healthcare is the best.   I’m also for government-funded abortions.

  • crowepps

    This is the absolute worst argument I can imagine using — the ‘tradition’ in Washington DC is corruption, politics over country and selling out to corporate interests. Personally I don’t think many of Washington’s ‘traditions’ are worth honoring, particularly not when they are bad for the rest of the citizenry.