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. Rob

    Funny how they keep calling "kill your baby" reproductive health care. Healthcare on the back of women??? For once we have healthcare that doesn't involve the senseless slaughter of babies in their mothers wombs. If you insist on doing this, I guess you'll have to use you own money.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. muggle_born

    I'm so not religiuos you could call me anti-religion, but I am very glad to see the president make this stand. I have threee children, and can't even imagine how anyone could kill their yet-to-be-born child. It's not a "choice" anyone should be given anymore than it should be given after the child is born. You're killing a living thing. Clearly, abortion is an abomination against nature. There's really no way to argue otherwise.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lin

    if they're going to restrict abortion coverage then they should deny all Viagra prescription reimbursement and require any male over the age of 14 to to wear condoms while having sex.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Gerry

    With this agreement to continue to deny Federal funding for abortions, women are no worse off than they were before. Things remain unchanged. President Obama had to face the challenges put to him. He did not choose to "negotiate health care on the backs of women."
    It was important to get this bill passed, despite its shortcomings and undesirable portions. It was now of never. Rather than stir up a rallying cry with a backs-of-women slogan, lets turn our attention to the fact that "pro-lifers" tend to be pro life until birth. Then the child, so "precious" while being formed, becomes a marginalized, stigmatized mooch, a drain on society, should the mother be poor, or just make enough to be disqualified for Medicaid for herself and her child. Now there is hope. Challenge the pro-lifers to be pro-life after birth, rather than withdraw your support for a president who has not betrayed us, but has faced relentless obstructions to any good he tries to do.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lou

    At the end of the day good politics is about being pragmatic. It is better for every American if the Health Bill is passed. The President has to deal with the cards that are dealt to him and he has worked extremely to get this Health Bill through. Americans in the future will look back and thank the President for what he has achieved.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. LoneWolf777

    NOW needs to get a grip. This bill may have failed without Stupak and his people.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. A physician

    The people complaining about the Executive order state that the President has forbidden abortion. That is not true ! The Exec Order clearly states that "Federal funds are not used for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered), These three reasons are the ones that all civilized people agree upon, in terms of justifiable reasons for killing a fetus, to call abortion by its real name.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mary Zoeter

    Should NOW really be surprised by this? As far as I know, Obama has alienated everyone who voted for him. As a progressive, I feel betrayed by just about everything he has done since taking office. The so-called health care reform bill is nothing but a further pay-off to the pharmaceutical and insurance companies. It is business as usual, and, unlike the mainstream media, I am not about to call it "the most far-reaching reform bill in 50 years".

    March 21, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Catherine Ward

    Go NOW! I am sorry it looks to be a harder fight than previously but a woman's right to govern her own body should not be limited by law. Especially law created by males and religious types. We need more separation between church and state.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Voxhumana

    I agree with NOW that this is not good news. However, it is not the last word on this issue. Sometimes you have to look at the larger picture. Many more women will be helped by the Healthcare Reform bill than will need the abortion coverage. We can work on this separately going forward. Someone had to break the stalemate and make progress. Men should think about who is benefiting from this restriction.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sara

    I am a pro-choice woman, but NOW is not considering women's needs. If so many women in this country lack health insurance – this is a danger to women's rights also! If so many women are denied health insurance due to pre-existing conditons-this is a danger to women's rights also. We need this historic legislation. I won't support NOW if you don't support a President who is trying to do the right thing to protect women in this country.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Karen

    I agree. I'm a 59 yr old woman who feels that there should be a lot fewer abortions in this country, but believe that if a woman wants to abort, she won't be a great mom. Unless men are required to be good dads, we need this option.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Awaal Oastad

    Terry O'Neill,

    This was part of his negotiations with the other key stakeholders. President Obama did not redefine the law, he is just upholding the previous one. If he did not sign it, you would not even get up to here, mem. Just be happy.



    March 21, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Brian from NC

    To NOW: You can't expect the taxpayers (least of all mine) to pay for the murder of babies. It may be "legal" for a woman to do this, but that doesn't mean for one second that I should have one penny of my money to support it. Your organization is becoming increasingly unimportant due to your extremist beliefs. For too long the majority of rational-minded people have let wackos like you run this country. I think you are about to see a wake-up call.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mike

    Look, Obama 'campaigned' as a lot of things, folks. Campaign promises are designed to get you elected, not to serve as your priorities once elected. Isn't this a pretty elementary insight? I'm an independent, since 1968, and I think abortion should be between a woman and her doctor (and husband, if there is one). But if NOW beleived every campaign promise, they need to grow up!

    March 21, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
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