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. Joe

    If it was regular, important gynecological visits being withheld I'd be angry. But abortion is an elective procedure, and can for the most part be avoided. Regardless of your views on abortion (personally I am indifferent, I am fine with it being legal but there are better less physically taxing methods of birth control), why is there an absolute need for taxpayers to pay for an elective procedure?

    There are exceptions for cases of rape and cases of health risks. That's the only times I feel it is a really big deal that a woman have absolute access to the procedure. Other than that, fine it's legal but come on it's 21st Century if you're not capable of using birth control than you should foot the bill. When I took my girlfriend (now my wife) in to get the morning after pill when a condom broke, I paid for it. We didn't have a back up birth control, it was our fault, no one else should have had to pay for that.

    I realize all birth control methods can fail, but I guarantee you 99.999% of pregnancies occur when birth control methods weren't used or at least weren't used properly. You make that mistake, you pay for it. I see nothing wrong with that.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:31 am | Report abuse |
  2. Bruce

    Comments like this is what worries me about single-issue politics. President Obama had a tough choice here; to unequivocally require that abortion be funded by federal money, or to disallow that due to many people's legitimate moral objections to the procedure, and thereby allow for lifesaving and quality of life improving medical treatments to be funded for millions of americans who don't currently have any coverage and can't pay for it.

    I believe in a woman's right to choose to terminate a pregnancy, but it's a far cry to jump from that to where the procedure needs to be funded by the federal government. In the larger scheme of things, getting coverage to those who need it and can't afford it is higher priority than dealing with one specific medical procedure which is largely elective and not medically necessary. and in this situation where it was likely that the bill wouldn't have passed with abortion as a covered procedure, then tradeoffs needed to be made.

    I do wish they could've left the option in to pay for it in situations where it was medically necessary, such as when the health of the mother was at risk, but I understand the opponents of the procedure would most likely have scuttled the bill if it contained any funding at all for it.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
  3. JCR NY.

    This is great news but the way he did it is not right, it should have been in the bill its not in the bill .This gos along with the way President Obama and Democratic have be underhanded with this health care bill .Obama issues another executive order well he must have the record now for the most Executive orders in the history of the United States of America now.There are alot of underhanded thing ,alot sneeking around, many secrets.This is still great news underhanded but I will take it.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:35 am | Report abuse |
  4. Andrea

    I wish people would stop with the "just keep your legs closed" argument. Abortion is not just for 16 year olds or "welfare queens". Women of all ages, races, marital status, and socioeconomic status choose to end their pregnancies for more reasons that we could list on an internet message board. While I don't doubt that there are some women who "use abortion as birth control", I would argue that the majority are making a difficult decision that they have not taken lightly.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
  5. radideas

    Being pro-choice is not being anti-life. Nobody wants babies to die or be aborted. The point of being pro-choice is that no government or law should control a woman's body (or anyone's body). A woman must always have the right to decide what she wants to do with her body including the fetus that grows inside of her. Obviously, we don't want women choosing to abort unless in dire/dangerous/unsafe situations. But we can't force a woman to make this decisions because at the end of the day its her body. What we can do is improve sex education for our children that stresses protection, make free contraception widely available, stop pretending that teenagers won't have sex, offer affordable high-level pre-natal and childcare for all mothers, make it easier for single people and gays to adopt, and educate everyone about safe viable non-abortion options. All of these things will make being a mother a lot easier because to be honest.. it really does take village to raise a baby.. and when you don't have the income and social support to help you.. the task can be daunting. Every baby deserves a healthy safe childhood. So instead of investing all our energies in debating about abortion, we should invest in ideas and education that will avoid unwanted pregnancies all together and guarantee mothers/families high-level medical and childcare for those who do have children. Historical data has shown that abortion is as old as human beings. Women throughout history have abortions because their life is in danger, they do not have the resources to take care of a child, or they do not have mental/emotional capacity to take care of child. By improving our policies where we can guarantee these resources, medical/psychological care, and education, we will drastically lower abortion rates.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
  6. women_suck

    NOW and other women groups have waged a war against men for decades.
    Turning men into slaves in this country.
    It's time to return the favor and unite with our own groups.
    Lets get our rights back. Lets get our humanity back.
    Lets get our dignity back.

    If you want to get pregnant you lazy slob then pay for the abortion you freeloading worthless drain on society.

    peace

    March 22, 2010 at 2:47 am | Report abuse |
  7. Doug E.

    Everyone is not seeing the big picture here. The bill does not anti abortion or women cannot get abortions. All they goverment is saying is if choose to use your right to an abortion, pay for it! You made the elective descsion to have sex, do not expect the goverment to pay for your elective surgery. For those who are going to argue the whole rape life threatning thing, read the bill. It is funded under certain circumstances.

    For those still going to argue for free handouts on this issue, why dont you also ask that the govement foot the bill on elective cosmetic surgey! I would love a few nips and tucks.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
  8. Samantha Franklin

    I am an adult adoptee who happens to be pro-life. That being said, I am writing because NOW recently spoke out against an "adoptee access" bill in Michigan that would have restored the right of adults adopted as children to obtain their original birth certificate. Six states have already passed this legislation which is supported by The Child Welfare League of America and other advocacy groups. "Vital Records" by Jean Strauss documents how New Hampshire passed this legislation and debunks the myths of "sealed records" and "confidentiality" in adoption law. It is an important issue that should be addressed nationally. Adoptees should have the same right as every other citizen to obtain their obc.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. Cyndie

    As both an adoptee & a survivor of abortion, I agree that fed. funding should not pay for abortion. Fed. funding already pays for birth control & sterilization procedures. Use these, rather than abortion, to accomplish this task. Original birth certificates desperately need to be open to all adoptees! This reduces the rate of abortion by nearly 50%!!!

    March 22, 2010 at 3:02 am | Report abuse |
  10. Marie

    Some people can't see the forest for the trees. We NEED health care reform in this country. Why are we not PROUD of our President who did whatever was necessary to get this very important legislation passed? The people in this country are so fortunate to have a President that finally stood up successfully to these big health care corporations. Consider the alternative-John McCain and Sarah Palin. Where would your "woman's rights" cause be then? You have to think of the bigger picture–at least so many more Americans will have access to basic health care.

    March 22, 2010 at 3:03 am | Report abuse |
  11. Karen

    Medicare covers Viagra and we never hear a peep about that! I don't want my tax dollars contributing to men's erections, which could lead to unwanted pregnancy, abortion and rape!

    March 22, 2010 at 3:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. George

    I am not an Obama fan, and I think the government should fund abortions. But, I have to defend the president on this one. The deal he made got the support needed to pass a health care bill that he (and his millions of constituents) consider important. It was the responsible thing to do. Politics is all about compromise.

    March 22, 2010 at 3:07 am | Report abuse |
  13. Tim

    Yes , abortion is taking a life. AND we spend 1/3 of our taxes on military spending (preparation for killing). It seems all of the anti -abortion people I know are Pro -send our troops to another country and kill people over there. It is not different -Look in your Bible. It is all taking a life to defend our STANDARD OF LIVING. I say we stop killing millions overseas first ( re really do kill that many people) then tackle the abortion issue here. If a young mother has to have a kid we end up paying for it anyway. If we can spend a Billion dollars on a bomber, Millions per rocket we can find a way to make this work also. Everything does not have to be so black and white . Especially when you are telling somebody else what to do with their body. Being righteous and right are not the same things.

    March 22, 2010 at 3:07 am | Report abuse |
  14. Chris

    Obama's executive order makes complete since with me, both morally and politically. I am pro-choice, but I firmly believe that the federal government should NOT be paying for abortions. It is not the responsibility of the collective public to pay for a very deep and personal choice, not to mention the fact that this choice came about most likely from a lack of responsibility.

    Additionally, when you look at where the public is on abortion rights, it's obvious that we are deeply divided. So it makes obvious sense that Obama doesn't want to try and swindle half of the American people through some kind of back door deal that sides with the pro-choice. I'm sure that he sees the ethical issues behind something like that, which is exactly why he's made this executive order. He's also put WAY too much time and effort into this bill to see it devolve into something that shoves a huge chunk of American people down a path they aren't ready for. The day we solve abortion issues is when we can solve it as a unified country(or mostly unified)...and we're along way from that.

    This bill is going to help a lot of people, both in the present and in the future. And like another poster said, it's going to help a lot of children, babies, and unborn children get way better health care. We gotta look on the bright side of this thing and focus on working out alllll the kinks so we can get it running smoothly and efficently, or else all of this crap is going to be for nothing and we'll be right back where we started.

    March 22, 2010 at 3:14 am | Report abuse |
  15. Tim

    As a man who feels like he has no business in the rights of woman, but none-the-less is personally pro-choice, I am all appalled at the strong vitriol of NOW's leadership. NOW should be ashamed of themselves. This type of caustic speech is not useful. Personally, I applaud President Obama for finding middle ground for this reform legislation. I personally condemn at the caustic and vitriol rhetoric from the extreme right and left. All this name calling and hate is damaging America! Stop it!

    March 22, 2010 at 3:15 am | Report abuse |
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