March 21st, 2010
06:19 PM ET

NOW 'incensed' over anti-abortion executive order

National Organization for Women President Terry O'Neill issued a statement Sunday afternoon slamming President Obama, saying that he had broken his faith with women by agreeing to issue an executive order that prohibits federal funding for abortions.

"The National Organization for Women is incensed that President Barack Obama agreed today to issue an executive order designed to appease a handful of anti-choice Democrats who have held up health care reform in an effort to restrict women's access to abortion. Through this order, the president has announced he will lend the weight of his office and the entire executive branch to the anti-abortion measures included in the Senate bill, which the House is now prepared to pass.

"President Obama campaigned as a pro-choice president, but his actions today suggest that his commitment to reproductive health care is shaky at best. Contrary to language in the draft of the executive order and repeated assertions in the news, the Hyde Amendment is not settled law - it is an illegitimate tack-on to an annual must-pass appropriations bill. NOW has a longstanding objection to Hyde and, in fact, was looking forward to working with this president and Congress to bring an end to these restrictions. We see now that we have our work cut out for us far beyond what we ever anticipated. The message we have received today is that it is acceptable to negotiate health care on the backs of women, and we couldn't disagree more."

soundoff (516 Responses)
  1. B Szabo

    The order does not "restrict women's access to abortion" as Ms. O'Neill avers. The order merely keeps the public from paying the tab for the procedure.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. G.D. Williams

    Campaign promises are like sandcastles. They look well constructed, but the tide always washes them away. It has been shown that the President will do what is necessary to have his agenda passed. N.O.W. is deeply concerned and outraged over the presidential executive order on abortion. It hurts be to betrayed by one in whom trust has been placed. However, the practical reality of politics is betrayal of someone.

    Time will tell (November 2010 and November 2012) if what transpired today will have an impact in the power makeup of Congress and the White House. Campaign rhetoric can only last a short time in this age of instant replay and analysis.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Andrea

    No one will ever be completely satisfied on the issue of abortion. Even though I feel it is a woman's right to choose (I believe there is only one person she needs to answer to), I don't thiink our government should finance. However, I do not see where the government prohibits the federal funding for abortion. On the contrary, from I have read the government plan will pay "in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered". I am sure these exceptions meet the majority of women who do seek abortions. I firmly believe the government should NOT pay for abortion as a means of birth control which sounds to me this is what NOW also wants to happen.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. StarkRG

    While we're at it, why don't we stop all federal funding to prisons that perform the death penalty? Let's also stop all federal funding for massively expensive fighter planes we don't need.

    And as long as we're on the subject of federal funding how about increasing the funding for schools and students (daycare through graduate) by a factor of 20? How about we stop giving any funds to states who insist on teaching religion in state-funded schools since this is so clearly unconstitutional? How about not providing federal funds to states that don't allow everyone to get married to those they wish, regardless of gender?

    I guess what I'm saying is, there are far worse things we fund than standard medical procedures.

    I don't see why this can't be dealt with on a state-to-state basis. If the state says it's a legal medical procedure/prescription then health coverage covers it, period.

    Of course, I understand what Obama's doing, get this thing passed first, THEN deal with the morons who insist that killing people for mistakes is OK but removing unwanted cell clusters isn't.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. rforte

    You people want to be pro abrotion, be pro abortion. You talk about a woman's right to choose...what about my right to not have my hard earned money be used in a way that makes me an accomplice in the murder of the unborn. Let them abort their babies. I will not be an accomplice in the murder.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Heidi

    I am a woman and you certainly don't speak for me! I am pro choice but understand the concerns about federal funding of any elective procedure let alone abortion. Abortion is a hot button issue..the executive order says nothing more than that the current funding that is done for reproductive health (as in abortions in the case of rape, incest and save the mother's life) will stay exactly the same. Why should the government pay for mistakes that women make? Why should the government pay for lack of funds on the part of a woman perfectly capable of having and caring for a baby or giving it up for adoption? There are many options besides abortion, including guardianships, etc. Time to stop thinking so narrowly NOW. I am a liberal, American woman that believes if someone wants an abortion (versus to save her life or to end a rape pregnancy etc) then they should have to pay for it themselves. It funds abortions for victims..not for folks that make mistakes.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. goesslry

    so, you would rather have nothing? A concession is made to pass the majority. If it isn't made, nothing happens, this year was spent for nothing, and all americans are hurting again. Abortion doesn't take a step backward, it stays where it is. That doesn't make Obama shaky, it makes him intelligent and good at making tough choices, even if they aren't what he completely agrees with, to help ALL americans.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. CM

    I'm pro-choice. I believe a woman has the right to choose, but I also believe that I have the right not to pay for someone else to terminate their pregnancy. This decision doesn't make the President any less of a pro-choice or women's rights advocate. It is a shrewd political decision to get landmark legislation passed. I don't judge women who choose to have an abortion. That is there choice. But the idea that tax payers would be obligated to pay for the procedure is out-right ludicrous.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. elaine bergstrom

    I am pro choice,most of my United Way money goes to Planned Parenthood, but I am against tax money going to pay for abortion. Maybe it's because I have met women who use that as a form of birth control. Maybe it is because I am well aware of what some taxpayers belive abortion to be and I sympathize with their position even if I do not agree with it. Mostly, though, I've noticed when insurance gets around to covering a procedure, suddenly the cost of that procedure goes way, way up. Yes, I think abortion should be covered if there is a medical emergency that makes it necessary but not in the usual sense of an "elective" abortion at a time when birth control is effective and easily obtained.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. inkerton

    This is exactly the kind of special interest claptrap that irritates most Americans, including me. I support this healthcare bill, and I support a woman's right to choose. Unlike NOW, I have a broad enough mind to understand the larger picture, and that the entire project should not be killed because of anger that the status quo on abortion cannot also be changed. This legislation is one of the best things that has even happened for women. Shame on NOW that this is the only statement it can come up with. Shame on all of the single-interest, myopic special interest groups, and shame on any lawmakers who listen to them.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Brian from Mass

    This is just one example of what this President as had to do to get this bill passed. What other promises and back room deals have been made?? If this is so good for this country then why in the 11-hour does this type of action need to occur. The president and democraps will be partying all night when they pass this and tell us all what a great thing has been done and the hard working people of america will have to pick up the check.. This is truely a sad day in this country.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Steve

    Not a peep in the statement about how working-class women and women of color will benefit from health-care reform. This is an example of why critics say NOW puts the interests of well-to-do white women–and, specifically, abortion rights–above everything else.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Morris

    I am pro-choice, but this whole thing is a give and take. As adults we should all know that we can't all have our way. Let's get thru this battle and then move on to the next. What would you do if you had the job.

    March 21, 2010 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jean V

    God bless NOW. They have been fighting for our rights since I was a young teenager, and they never, every give up. Someone has got to pull this nation kicking and screaming into modernity and NOW never shies away from that fight.

    Why in the world should some arcane religious opinion keep millions of women from exercising control over their own bodies?! What's next? Declaring that the wages of our service women cannot be used to fund abortions because the taxpayers pay those wages? Will we tell a member of Congress that she cannot have an abortion paid for by her health insurance company, as the taxpayers fund her insurance? Will we tell families who buy U.S. Savings Bonds that the interest on those bonds cannot be used to pay for abortions?

    This endless, relentless assault on religious freedom and basic privacy in this nation MUST STOP. We have no business telling women which LEGAL medical services they may receive from their doctors. Since when do we allow the Catholic Church and the anti-choice fundamentalists to practice medicine without a license?!?

    March 21, 2010 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Choose Life

    Abortion is not healthcare, never was!

    March 21, 2010 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
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