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Abortion-rights backers join health-care ad fray

By Ben Pershing
Supporters of abortion rights have jumped into the advertising fray over health-care legislation, hoping to sway the Senate as that chamber inches toward voting on a reform bill.

The Center for Reproductive Rights is launching a television ad Tuesday aimed at convincing Congress not to enact the restrictive abortion language contained in the health-care bill passed by the House. The spot will run for a week on Washington, D.C., cable stations and on selected Web sites. The group did not disclose the size of the ad buy.

The spot features a stand-up comedian at a club making "a health-care reform joke" about health insurance plans covering breast implants and plastic surgery, but not abortions. No one in the audience laughs. "Don't let Congress ban abortion coverage millions of women already have," the ad's announcer says at the end.

The bill passed by the House Nov. 7 included language authored by Reps. Bart Stupak (D-Mich) and Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) prohibiting coverage for elective abortions both by government-sponsored insurance plans (the "public option") and by any private plans on the envisioned insurance exchange that accepts people receiving federal subsidies.

Supporters of abortion rights say the net impact of this policy will be that millions fewer women will have access to abortion coverage, either because they will be receiving subsidized insurance or because many insurers may choose to simply stop offering abortion coverage altogether, rather than tailoring different plans for different customers. Anti-abortion groups say the Stupak-Pitts language is necessary to prevent federal tax dollars from subsidizing abortions. The bill currently being prepped for action in the Senate does not contain the abortion restriction, and the fight ahead will focus on whether the Stupak-Pitts language will make it into the House-Senate conference report.

By Ben Pershing  |  November 16, 2009; 3:45 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Just out of curiosity, why the change from "pro-life" and "pro-choice" to "abortion rights supporters" and "anti-abortion activists"? Sorry for the tangent, but it's an interesting wording change I've noticed in recent coverage.

Posted by: dkp01 | November 16, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

regarding the change... the older language is inaccurate (and politically charged) - for example, someone can be pro-choice (believing that abortion should be legal), and still anti-abortion (determining that she herself wouldn't have one). The use of "pro-life" is also inaccurate, as it implies that people who are pro-choice are against "life," rather than against government restrictions on a medical procedure.

Posted by: gulickr | November 16, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me, abortion is not a "procedure". It is murder unless the pregnancy threatens the mother's life. In the case of incest or rape, it should be allowed. However, if she "chooses" to murder her baby, she should not be referred to as mother, but rather, as murderer. If you you think murder should be a "choice", then maybe your next-door neighbor should have the "right" to choose your death.

Posted by: luzandrob | November 16, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

The amount of women losing abortion is coverage is rather small. Consider that the federal employees plan denies it, Medicaid denies it, 54% of the private market don't offer it, and millions more don't have insurance at all.
The concern is rather about how many more would have abortion coverage under looser restrictions. That number was going to be incredible and it represented a huge boom to abortion providers and the campaign of pro-choicers to make the procedure common and acceptable.

Posted by: cprferry | November 16, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

To the people who like to call abortion, "murder"...

Unless you beleive the death penalty is murder and that deaths resulting from government funded war (deaths of Americans and whom ever Americans are killing)is also murder - you are a hypocrite and full of crap.

It would be great if we didn't need abortions, death row or war. I contend that we don't need any of them with a a choice to be mindful, educated and altruistic about our choices.

Abortion is not "murder" any more than choosing not to fertilize an egg each month. What is a sin against God, is how humans treat the planet. We have destroyed the gift of the planet and the more unwanted, uncared for babies brought onto the planet, the worse life will be for all beings. It is evil to require people to have children who they cannot and do not want to care for. It is evil to abandon that infant once it is born - evil to send that young person to war to murder other people - and evil to support the murder of that man on death row... who never had a chance to begin with.

When anti abortion people start to be consistent with their argument... I will listen. And I would say that each person who is against abortion, should be willing and ready to adopt and unwanted child. Otherwise - please stop yapping.

Posted by: shegrins | November 16, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Can you say, "Wah! Abortion industry must have its taxpayer-funded windfall!"

Posted by: thebump | November 16, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

So, luzandrob, if I were to kill a 25 year old who had been conceived by rape or incest it wouldn't be murder, but if he had been conceived in a loving relationship it would be murder???

You, I believe, insist that a fetus is just as much a human being as a 25 year old, so how can you make an exception for rape?

But that would make your position seem too unreasonable, wouldn't it?

Abortion is not murder - try arguing on merits, rather than charged words.

Posted by: jspande1 | November 16, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

A moonbat says, "When anti abortion people start to be consistent with their argument... I will listen."

Maybe we'll listen to YOU when you upgrade your own consistency. Capital punishment is wrong, but the simple fact of the matter is that the number of people executed for vicious crimes is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of those executed by abortion mills for the "crime" of just being. Further, criminals condemned to death at least had some semblance of due process, however imperfect, while each and every victim of abortion is absolutely innocent and has absolutely zero due process.

Nor is even war remotely comparable in terms of numbers. Even the most exaggerated estimates of civilian deaths in Iraq over many years represent just a few weeks or months of work for the abortion industry.

Posted by: thebump | November 16, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Couple of things I'd like to clear up to all the abortions supporters who like to invoke the word God.

The concept of baby killing not new nor is it something you can't find in the bible as some ignorant people state.

In the old testament, the people had taken to false worship, burning incense to other gods and burning their children in fire. as burnt offerings.

{The people} have filled this place with the blood of innocents; {19:5} They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire [for] burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind.

His response was to kill those who did such. Not murder them. God killed them.

It is not murder to protect yourself from those not innocent ready to do you harm. Hence war, self defense.

Paul converted soldiers to Christianity. He never once mentions giving up soldiering.

Paul converted slaves. He never once mentions giving up slavery. In fact he send Onesimus back to Philemon.

Christ never said he came to free slaves.

These ridiculous arguments to get around rightly labeling abortion murder are elaborate. All the gyrations you have to go through to separate murdering an unwanted innocent from keeping a wanted innocent.
If abortion isn’t murder then it is perfectly acceptable to kill the baby of a woman without her consent and be guilty of only assault.

The only thing people want who are for abortion is the freedom to have sex with whomever they wish and not suffer the consequences.

Posted by: CustomCruiser | November 16, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

I thought this was a democracy NOT A THEOCRACY!!!! anti-Abortion as a religious tenant should not even been considered as part of our laws. This becomes beyond ridiculous and further blurs the separation of church and state. This country was founded on freedom of religion (not one religion) as well as taxation WITH representation and we should not have religion in any form as part of our governing. This is a travesty.

Posted by: concernedinWA | November 16, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

The amendment by Taliban-wannabees Stupak and Pitts needs to be gone from the reform bill. Then those guys need to be sent back to their caves in Afghanistan. Thank you Center for Reproductive Rights and everyone who is going to stand up against this outrage. Otherwise, the anti-choice terrorists win. Rev. Bookburn - Radio Volta

Posted by: revbookburn | November 16, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

FOR THE RECORD... There are much cheaper and humane ways of birth control than relying on abortion to heal the wounds that you recieved while in your Alchol/Drug enduced state that caused you to get pregnant. I'm not talking about Rape, Incest, or a mothers health being in jeopardy, I'm talking about Abortion On Demand.
Try acting responsible instead of making tax payers responsible for your irresponsibility. I for one do not feel the guilt,sorrow or responble to alleviate your responsibility, my tax dollar could be better spent on those that are sick and need medical care.

Posted by: jhnjdy | November 16, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

"Excuse me, abortion is not a "procedure". It is murder unless the pregnancy threatens the mother's life. In the case of incest or rape, it should be allowed."

If abortion were murder, there couldn't be an exceptions. But beneath the rhetoric, you realize that abortion is not murder. What is being killed in an abortion is not a person but a potential person. And that's why you're willing to make these exceptions.

Now please stop using inflammatory and inconsistent language like "abortion is murder". It is not.

Posted by: ats0j8 | November 16, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

"If abortion isn’t murder then it is perfectly acceptable to kill the baby of a woman without her consent and be guilty of only assault."

Maybe to you, not to me. I just want people like you to stop using loaded language to bias the debate. Anti-abortion activists admit that there are situations when abortion is justified, so abortion can't be "murder", because "murder" is never justified ("killing" can be, but not "murder").

One of the basic problems in debates with anti-abortion activists is that you people are fundamentally dishonest: you play on people's emotions, you lie about what abortion actually is, and you manipulate language. And, sadly, it's still working... for now. Long term, your lies are going to come down crashing like a house of card.

Posted by: ats0j8 | November 16, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

"There are much cheaper and humane ways of birth control than relying on abortion"

Too bad the right wingers have restricted RU-486 too. If we had followed the traditionalists, we couldn't even get condoms and contraceptives, since big, powerful churches oppose their use.

"Try acting responsible instead of making tax payers responsible for your irresponsibility."

Are we going to apply the same principle to other areas? Should everybody who is obese be denied coverage? Should everybody who smokes be denied coverage?

Posted by: ats0j8 | November 16, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Biological ignoramuses, like the Dark Ages Dogma Pope, are simply being as cruel to WOMEN as the Catholic Church has been for centuries, and the Islamic world is NOW!
It's all due to IGNORANCE of reproductive biology.
I am speaking as a nationally and internationally recognized reproductive physiologist (now retired) with 30 years experimental research on mechanisms of gametogenesis and fertilization!

Will we EVER break away from the Dark Ages?

Posted by: lufrank1 | November 16, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Over 50 MILLION abortions have been performed since Roe v. Wade. That's roughly 1/6 of the US population that's missing now. Planned Parenthood reported 1 BILLION dollars in PROFIT last year. They have a vested interest in promoting abortion (not adoption) which is their most lucrative "service". PP targets blacks, and it's not surprising that Margaret Sanger (look her up) who started PP wanted to exterminate the black population. A hugely disproportionate number of abortions kill black babies. Currently there are over 2 MILLION couples in the US waiting to adopt. Most abortions occur after easily identifiable hands and feet, fingers and toes have formed - they call it a "blob of tissue". Sadly, there are two victims of each abortion; the mother and the child. We need to help those mothers CHOOSE LIFE!

Posted by: chauffeurkp | November 16, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

To concernedinWA
Yes, our country espouses "Freedom of Religion" not Freedom From Religion". Our laws are based on a moral code - like it or not, believe it or not, murder is wrong. It happens to be a religious belief (or are you suggesting all laws should be suspended if they have a religious backing?).

Posted by: chauffeurkp | November 16, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Come on folks, who doesn't believe a baby starts it's life and starts growing from conception? Do you think its just a bunch of goo without a purpose waiting around until the 18 week point to be killed? It doesnt stop growing because the parents were irresponsible. It doesnt stop growing because it came at an inconvienient time in someones life. It's life stops because someone decided to kill it and it is legal, cheap and a quick fix to someone. Do these people know what a 12 week or 18 week baby looks like? I think if everyone who was thinking about abortion were forced to see what the baby looks like at that developmental stage, we would have far less abortions.
I challenge anyone with an opposing viewpoint to just lookup a 12 week or 18 week or 22 week baby's development. you can go here.

It maybe easier for some to look the other way when it's inconvenient, but it is still murder. 40 million of them since it was legalized.

Why can't our expecting mothers be asked to watch a presentation and look at the sonograms of their children they are about to abort? Because there is no money in saving life for the abortionists! The more they abort, the more money they make.!

Please stop abortions in any way that you can! write a letter! tell an expecting mother that there is a better way...just do something!

Posted by: JBfromFL | November 16, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Before we can even have an argument regarding abortion...let's deal with the facts. What are we talking about here?
Go look up fetal development of a 7 to 9 week old fetus. Actual pictures of what the fetus looks like (NOT aborted pictures!) and descriptions of what is going on with the fetus. Like a heartbeat, brain activity, etc. Then let's discuss how this isn't a baby and it isn't murder.

But no one wants to discuss facts because it's TRUTH! Please, for yourself, find out the facts, not what the media wants you to believe.

And how did we turn this into rights? We have established this is a baby we are stopping the life of. It doesn't magically turn into one at birth. All the arguments don't work anymore either. Child abuse rates are UP drastically, so there goes that argument. Look at the negative effects of abortion on women--ever met someone who loved their decision of abortion? Nope! Depression rates, drug abuse, etc are UP!

How blind are we as a country to turn the other way regarding ending a pregnancy.

Find out the facts before you argue the issue.

Posted by: rachael7 | November 16, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

I am confused. Didn't Obama make it clear that the health Care Reform Bill will not cover abortion with federal money?

So why are Democrats debating this? Didn't they get the memo?

If they are disagreeing with Obama, don't they know this makes them racist haters and members of the angry mob?

Come on Liberals get with it and get in line!

Posted by: heathergreeneyes | November 16, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

The only pro side to abortion is that I have to beleive more liberals have them then conservatives.

It surely has to be reducing the Democrat voter population!

Posted by: heathergreeneyes | November 16, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

I find it amusing that the conservatives have battled against the health bill, saying that they don't want the government to come between the patient and the doctor....yet then they provide this amendment that would do just that...hypocrites. Should we start jailing every woman who miscarries, as that is basically God forcing an abortion?

I am not for abortions....however, I try not to judge, as Jesus told us not to. Odd how the ones claiming to love Jesus are the ones doing all the judging. I have not walked a mile in these women's shoes, nor do I plan to. I do agree it is wrong for people to get an abortion as a method of birth control. Let God do what he will with them.

I also think it is pretty hypocritical that these "Christians" that are trying to get the laws changed to prevent abortion are the same ones that give the social stigma to unwed mothers to be that help them decide to get an abortion (so they wouldn't face the stigma) and at the same time, if these "christians" find out that someone has had an abortion, they usually offer a cold shoulder of judgment rather than a warm heart of compassion, as Jesus would rather them do. And as far as some of the unwanted pregnancies that get aborted....I would rather have the souls of these babies be with God rather than with the rats that would abuse them here on Earth. If God is so great, then why do these "Christians" prefer these poor souls to be born into a life of misery rather than being with their Creator?

Posted by: cgallaway2000 | November 16, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

The issue here is that religion is being inserted into healthcare. I am a Christian that is "pro-choice." I believe that I am overstepping my bounds to force my beliefs on others. God gives us free-will and for me to force the will of others is not allowing God to do his will. I also do not believe every fetus is created in love. Where there is no love it is absent of God. As far as my tax dollars paying for what I might believe is immoral is part of the price of being a US Citizen. I personally believe that killing not in self defense is immoral as in the Iraq war. Still as a citizen I am asked to pledge my allegiance to the Constitution and that says a separation of Church and State.

Posted by: Shingo56 | November 16, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Here is a good reply from an LA Times opinion article about the Stupak Amendment:
"First of all, if we're going to use government funds to provide for people's healthcare, which I believe we should (and I would personally prefer the government paid for all healthcare through a single-payer system), we have to be careful about how we allocate those funds so that it does not just turn into a rampant populism of who can snatch more government cash. For that reason, health care funds should only go to MEDICALLY NECESSARY procedures. Asking someone to give their tax dollars for elective abortions, from a fiscal perspective, doesn't make anymore sense than using tax dollars to pay for face lifts, or breast enlargement.

Secondly, many people in this country have a very understandable moral issue with abortion. If we believe in the right to make our own choice on this difficult moral question of when life begins, we need to respect the opinions of those who make a different decision than us. Pro-lifers have a right to their opinion too, and their opinion is that abortion is murder. Now they shouldn't have the right to force that conclusion on every other woman, but neither should they be required to fund an act they believe to be murder if it is not medically necessary to protect the life of the mother, in the name of health care reform."

As for abortion being murder, some people believe abortion is murder and some people believe it isn't, just as some people believe the death penalty is murder and some people believe it isn't. It looks likely that an innocent man was put to death under law in Texas, and I'm sure he hasn't been the only one.

Posted by: paulflorez | November 16, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: luzandrob | November 16, 2009 6:34 PM

Excuse me, abortion is not a "procedure". It is murder unless the pregnancy threatens the mother's life. In the case of incest or rape, it should be allowed. However, if she "chooses" to murder her baby, she should not be referred to as mother, but rather, as murderer. If you you think murder should be a "choice", then maybe your next-door neighbor should have the "right" to choose your death.


No, I absolutely won't excuse you, nor anyone else who chooses to ignore the difference between opinion and fact.

"Murder" is an entirely subjective human construct, meaningful only as it is defined by the law. A woman's right to legally choose abortion has been repeatedly affirmed in the US, where murder in any degree is a felony, therefore abortion is not murder according to the laws that apply to you. If that bothers you, perhaps you should consider moving.

That said, I've always been curious to know how whether abortion is murder could hinge on anything other than whether the fertilized egg/zygote/embryo is a whole human person. If you think the fertilized egg/zygote/embryo is a whole human person, willfully causing its death is always murder regardless of the circumstances of its creation. If you believe that an unborn fertilized egg/zygote/embryo is the same as a live child after birth, but also that it is not murder to kill it if it is the result of a rape, then it necessarily follows that you think that killing children who are the result of rape is not murder even after birth. You barbarian!

If you support exceptions, you either don't really believe that a fertilized egg/zygote/embryo is the same as a live infant after birth, or you are in serious denial about your cognitive dissonance. Whichever it is, your insistence that abortion is murder is quite easily picked apart.

And by the way, murder is by definition a choice; killing someone by accident is manslaughter. You probably meant "If you think murder should be legal, then maybe your next-door neighbor should have the 'right' to choose your death," but even corrected for clarity, that is both a straw man AND a non-sequitur. No abortion rights supporter has ever said s/he thinks murder should be legal. In fact, I am so against murder that I think it should be illegal even for the state and the military.

Posted by: SilSpr | November 16, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

I agree with CustomCruser but I would like to add that a distingtion between mother and child is as simple as DNA. I agree a woman should be incharge of her own body. But I fetus (BABY) is its own person with its own DNA. For the person asking for those who are PRO-LIFE to adopt an unwanted child. Glad to do so, if you are looking to have an abortion but would let the child live it you could find it a good home YOU CAN CALL ON ME!

Posted by: paducahshane | November 16, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

The Stupak amendment was just another trick used by Obama and his accomplices to pass the Obamacare SCAM through the House. Tricked by the amendment, some Catholics (not all) actually believed the lies of Obama and his accomplices regarding abortion coverage! Tricked by the amendment, they failed to look at the evil behind the whole Obamacare scam.

Informed Americans, however, understand that, if Obama gets his way, Obamacare will FORCE us to pay for abortions, infanticide (late-term abortion) and probably euthanasia, in spite of Obama’s lies and tricks like the Stupak amendment.

Lies do not change Obama's pro-abortion and pro-infanticide (late-term abortion) stand, nor the aberrant stands of Obama's Health Care Czar Ezekiel Emanuel and Science Czar John Holdren.

Obama's Health Care Czar Ezekiel Emanuel, rightfully called "Doctor Death," would make Dr. Kervorkian proud.

Dr. Emanuel has said that "Medical care should not be given to those who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens." As per Dr. Emanuel, your mother suffering from Alzheimer’s or your child diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome SHOULD NOT receive medical care.

And Obama's "Science Czar" John Holdren has called for population-control policies such as forced abortions, mass sterilizations, and mandatory population controls.

Lies do not change the FACT that we are broke and Obamacare will further destroy our economy, our future and the future of our children and grandchildren.

Lies do not change the FACT that Obamacare is another scam to enslave us.

Pray the fraudulent and criminal Obamacare bill slips forever into oblivion!

Posted by: AntonioSosa | November 17, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

If The Center for Reproductive Rights had its way, all taxpayers and government or insurance company employees, as well as every physician, nurse, medical assistant and hospital worker would be forced to be involved in providing abortions.

Posted by: MCMasotti | November 17, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

It is oh-so-nice to see there are some people on here who think for themselves! Nice to see people who aren't blown to and fro with the wind.

Posted by: rachael7 | November 17, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

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