By Scott Tibbs, November 9, 2009
The following is a press release that Indiana Right to Life sent to its e-mail list last week:
Congressman Ellsworth undercutting pro-life Stupak amendment with cosmetic language that leaves abortion mandates in place
Indianapolis, IN - Indiana Right to Life today is deeply concerned over reports in today's Congress Daily AM (a subscription-only publication of the National Journal) from Washington that cosmetic language presented by Indiana eight district congressman Brad Ellsworth is undercutting a crucial pro-life amendment offered by Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan.
While the Stupak amendment would remove abortion funding mandates from the House healthcare reform bill, the Ellsworth language does nothing to eliminate federal abortion mandates in the health bill being pushed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Indiana Right to Life is calling on Rep. Ellsworth to immediately withdraw his language and to throw his full support to the Stupak amendment.
"Congressman Ellsworth is undercutting the Stupak amendment," states Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter. "If he does not withdraw his language and get solidly behind Stupak, the result could be that he will give Speaker Pelosi all of the window dressing she will need to make it look like abortion problems with the bill have been fixed. We do not believe that Congressman Ellsworth wants to be known as the man who put Speaker Pelosi's agenda over the top, but the only way to prevent that now is to withdraw his cosmetic language."
NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson commented, "We are dismayed that Mr. Ellsworth yesterday apparently proposed language that in substance will allow the new federal government insurance program, the 'public option,' to pay for abortion on demand. The pro-abortion House Democratic leadership is using Ellworth's phony language to undercut the real pro-life amendment, which is the amendment proposed by Reps. Bart Stupak and Joe Pitts . The Ellsworth language is the legislative equivalent of putting pancake makeup on a cancer, rather than performing lifesaving surgery."
IRTL sent the following open letter to Brad Ellsworth last week, also copying the IRTL e-mail list:
November 3, 2009
The Honorable Brad Ellsworth
513 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Rep. Ellsworth:
I am deeply troubled by reports from Washington indicating that Democratic leadership may adopt language you have submitted in an attempt to address abortion problems with the health care bill. Unfortunately, National Right to Life federal legislative director Douglas Johnson informs me that the language you have proposed will do nothing to stop the federal public option for paying for abortion on demand.
In my discussions with Mr. Johnson today, I learned that he has placed numerous calls to your legislative director to address concerns over your proposed language but that none of his calls have been returned. You may also recall that I have previously asked you to add your name to a letter circulated by Rep. Stupak pledging your support for his amendment. You subsequently declined to join many of your Democratic colleagues in signing onto this letter.
This is one of the most significant votes in American history. If the Pelosi bill passes without the Stupak amendment, the results will be devastating to the unborn.
The Stupak amendment is on the table. There is no reason to offer alternatives to the Stupak amendment when it already addresses our concerns. I believe it is clear that Speaker Pelosi intends to block a vote on the Stupak amendment because she knows she will be unable to prevent its passage. If your language is not withdrawn, it will have the effect of undercutting the Stupak amendment and will be used by Speaker Pelosi to advance an abortion agenda as part of her nationalized health care bill.
I urge you to withdraw your language immediately and to support the Stupak amendment.
President and CEO
Indiana Right to Life