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. Matt in Chicago

    Maybe I misread something, but i don't see how a woman's access to abortion has been restricted.

    The order appeared to state that federal funds cannot be used for abortion.

    I don't think federal funds are currently used to pay for abortions.

    How is this restricting access?

    March 21, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. michael

    I believe abortion is a private matter for a woman and/or a woman & her reproductive partner, which is why it should not be funded. I do not wish to imply women take this issue glibly by comparing it to a nose job, but both procedures are a choice pertaining to life choices not medical necessity, unless of course a woman's health at stake.

    I don't know all the answers in life, but I do believe it is best to err on the side of caution and not pay for such things but leave the woman the option to do as she deems fit with her own money.

    As long as Women have access to safe, legal abortions, even with trimester limitations, that is the most important thing. NOW needs to recognize this and compromise about funding and time limitations.

    Abortion is not something anyone enjoys. It's something we have to live with and no side is going to win their platform 100%. Time to compromise and put this to rest as best we can.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joe

    The president is still pro-choice the bill just states that the fed gov will not pay for it. He is not taking away your choice to have the abortion.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. not me

    I won't fund something that 70+% of Americans view as homicide. They have no need to be incenced. Their credibility is damaged.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. GEORGE KENNA

    I hate the abortion amendment as well. However I work in a hospital and see the day to day healthcare disparities in America. I see hospitals losing money year after year because they have to give free healthcare to uncovered people. I see my insurance rates go up year after year and I never get a raise because of it. Those with healthcare can pick apart every aspect of this bill yet they forget how many people are going to be helped by the passage of this bill. Sorry NOW, I agree I hate the abortion ruling too but I have never been prouder to call myself a Democrat. I saw the response by Eric Cantor regarding the racial epithets espoused by some of the Tea Baggers on Saturday: yes he denounced the acts then said however that many people were upset-which therefore justifies their actions? I am disgusted by tjhe just say "No" Republicans in this country. This bill is the right thing to do.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ripple

    Count me with NOW. Abortion is a medical issue, not a religious issue. Obama is a sell-out. He just lost my vote.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jamelg

    Abortion has changed from being a health issue or a last resort to become an accepted means of birth control throughout the current me first culture. By not allowing federal funds to be spent on abortion there are still many who actually need them for health issues that will receive abortions, however those using it as a back up plan will be forced to use another form of contraception. I believe a woman has a right to choose and firmly stand by my belief, however when I run into those who have had multiple abortions I don't think that we should be footing the bill to support such faulty thinking that abotion as a birth control plan is healthy and/or acceptable. To allow the healh care benefits and healthcare system restructuring to begin sometimes concessions have to be made. There are 30 million uninsured people who will receive benefits, there are far fewer than 30 million genuinely health related abortion performed yearly, when weighing the options, the choice should be easy.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Barbin

    The President has added insult to injury with this executive order. It is already law that no federal funds be used for abortions. So, the President is just piling on. To put it mildly he has thrown (most) women under the bus. Women, and especially, young women need to see that reproductive health care is major issue in all campaigns. Disrespecting a whole gender is disgusting. We, the women of a certain age, have worked for reproductive health care and now it's slipping away. Now is the time for younger women to take on the task before they find themselves without reproductive health care at all.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Harry

    I'm solidly Pro-Choice, but I have to say to NOW that as a whole, this Bill provides better protections for women over all aspects of healthcare. President Obama would have lost this fight if we added the controversy of abortion, and that would have just played right into the Repubicans hands. I don't agree with the Hyde Amendment either, but this is not the Bill to get it addressed; not at the ultimate cost of inaction or defeat. Cutting your nose off to spite your face isn't very intelligent or compassionate.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. longtimedemocrat

    "President Obama campaigned as a pro-choice president, but his actions today suggest that his commitment to reproductive health care is shaky at best." Really? I have no problem with not funding abortion while guarantying a woman's right to choose but I lack specific information. Can someone familiar with federal funding of medical procedures tell me if there are other specific medical procedures done with the expenditure of federal dollars? I can change my mind if persuaded with facts...think the Republicans call it "flip-flopping" I prefer to call it "informed decision making.""

    March 21, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joseph

    So...what NOW is saying is that it would have been better to let the health care bill fail instead of looking for some sort of compromise.

    Funny...I like the term "anti-choice." Maybe pro-choice people should be labeled "anti-life" then. NOW is overreacting. Abortion is already legal...this merely prevents the funding of abortion by taxpayers' money, meaning that people who don't support abortion won't be forced into supporting abortion. While I think a woman can choose to do whatever she wants with her body, forcing people to pay for abortion is also pretty anti-choice, don't you think?

    And besides, an executive order can be repealed any time without the approval of Congress. This is merely a way for Stupak and co. to save face and explain their vote for the health care bill. Obama owes them that much at least considering he asked them to vote for an unpopular bill. NOW should just stay quiet because taxpayers will eventually have to fund abortion (although indirectly) through this bill once the executive order is repealed.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Linda Bowman

    As a pro choice person I also can still think independently and do not see any problem with the President reassuring the pro life people..and by the way who isn't really...reassuring with only a reaffirmation of what is used as law now..no changes, no additions, or subtractions..I implore NOW and other like minded groups to truthfully look at what is being said here...now before this gets out of hand and realize nothing has changed because of this executive order but plenty could change if u persist in this nonsense........it is no threat to the status quo and President Obama has not gone back on his word...I expect republicans to knit pick every word...misinterpret every word...look for problems where there are none..I do not anticipate this or accept it from NOW or any other person who is not trying to bring the president down or the democratic idealogy...STOP Now....you are being totally irrational....and it is beneath this organization who has done so much good for all mof us .....thank you....

    March 21, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joe

    I think that federal funding for abortion should only be allowed for rape or incest victims. Everyone else should have to pay for their "mistakes." I don't get how this executive order is sexist or is somehow anti-women's rights. Can someone please explain it a little better than NOW. I'm open minded and I just want to make an educated decision on my opinion of this issue. Also, I'm not coming from a religious standpoint but from a "take responsibility for your actions" standpoint.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Garry

    I am one very angry Obama supporter. NOW is right. He has sold out in order to appease anti-choice Democrats like that dispicable Stupak. It is a horrendous gesture.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dan

    Abortion is not health care. NOW is a special interest group wanting federal money to support their business. Shame on NOW.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
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