Some of the nation's top political commentators, legislators and intellectuals offer their insight into the biggest question burning up the blogosphere today.

Today's question:

Could abortion be a deal-breaker on healthcare reform?





John McManus, executive director of The John Birch Society, said:

If abortion isn't a "deal-breaker" regarding the Obama/Reid/Pelosi healthcare program, it certainly should be.  The philosophical base of our nation is contained in the Declaration of Independence where the purpose of breaking away from Mother England stated that "Men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights" among which was prominently included the right to "life."  No abortion proponent wants to discuss the medically and scientifcally established fact that life begins at conception. The current plan to takeover of the medical industry will have abortion given federal aid and encouragemnet.  Nothing could be more un-Ameruican - if anyone still cares about what this nation roots included.      


Michael J. Wilson, executive director of Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), said:

It could be – but it won’t. First of all, health care reform is going to happen. The only question is how robust, and how much better than the current system. And while activists like me want a system that is as robust as possible with as much improvement as we can get, we know that this is not the place to resolve the issue of choice. That issue should remain between the woman, her doctor, and her faith. Pro-choice or not, the reality is that what is legally permissible will not be changed by this health care reform proposal.

The issues that threaten the opponents of choice are things that are happening everyday all around us, but they are not inside this bill; the education of women, the assertiveness of young women to control their own bodies and their own lives, and the increasing willingness of men to acknowledge that reality. When you add the increasing modernization and access of birth control, it’s clear that what threatens the anti-choice movement is not this health care bill, but the slow, inexorable ticking of the clock of progress.

Suzanne T. Poppema, M.D., board chairwoman for the Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, said:

Abortion shouldn’t be a deal-breaker on health care reform. As physicians, we know that women will always need abortion, and we believe it should be treated like any other medical service--not singled out for special attention. If the goal of health reform is to keep all Americans healthy, we should not restrict medical procedures some women will inevitably need. In the committee hearings this summer, some anti-choice legislators tried to do just that, preventing any insurance plan from covering abortion. Thankfully, these measures were defeated, and a compromise emerged that would maintain the status quo on abortion. None of the bills Congress is considering would fund abortions with taxpayer money, or expand access to abortion beyond the coverage women currently have. The majority of Americans support this compromise, just as a majority of Americans believe women should have access to safe, legal abortion.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said:

It's an issue that divides people. But I think there's a lot of pro-life members who will vote with us on the bill because they feel we've done what's appropriate to ensure American people that we are using their taxpayer dollars well.

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said:

Abortion and immigration are issues that are seen as potentially very decisive.

Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) said:

I didn't vote for it. I would be seriously concerned if any bill passed the government that didn't protect the life of the unborn.

Tom McClusky, senior vice president of FRC Action, said:

With the Leadership trying to please so many Democratic factions of the debate (government run health care proponents vs. Government run opponents, tax everyone vs. tax the rich, etc. etc.) that abortion could easily be the component that could be the final straw on the Obama/Pelosi/Reid back.

Now that both Chambers have released their bills one things is clear - they both include federal funding of abortion. Such a move would turn American taxpayers into the permanent funding stream of the abortion industry and guarantee that abortions will increase. The ball is now in the hands of Rep. Bart Stupak and his colleagues to stand up against Nancy Pelosi and for the unborn.

Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, said:

Yes, abortion can be a dealbreaker. Page 110 of the new bill explicitly authorizes the public plan to pay for all elective abortions. As CRS as confirmed, all funds spent by the public plan, a federal agency program, will be federal funds. So this will be direct federal funding of elective abortion, pure and simple. It is a hoax to claim that a federal agency can pay for elective abortions while using "private" funds -- an impossibility. That is why the Bart Stupak Amendment is needed.