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. Bonnie

    I feel so sorry for your inability to think for yourselves. Abortions ARE provincially funded in Canada, as we don't discriminate against woman and their reproductive health choices. I know how good my heath care is, and we don't let politics get in the way of our reproductive rights. The presidents executive order is a senseless appeasing move to the Neo-Cons who didn't have ONE VOTE for a bill that SAVES LIVES AND TAXPAYER MONEY! Why appease the ones who are getting the most money from the insurance company lobbiests and are a do nothing party? I do not understand Americans...I love CANADA, where health care is a RIGHT, not a privilege, as any other developed country believes as well. What is wrong with you?

    March 22, 2010 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
  2. KB

    I have read through the comments on this and now have to agree. The government does not have to pay for abortions. Those of us that are pro-choice need to make sure we fund organizations like Planned Parenthood sufficiently so that all women that cannot afford the choice they make, to get the help they need in terms of abortion, advice, birth control, etc. The women of the U.S. need to make sure that abortion is always an option. For all of you that believe in a woman's right, please support Planned Parenthood!

    March 22, 2010 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
  3. Kay

    I think a lot of people are missing the fact that sexual education has not been taught in many public and low income schools because "abstinence only" has been our gift from the Bush Administration. Therefore, this directly penalizes women (and men) who cannot afford a private education, and who quite possibly, don't have the money to obtain an abortion, either.

    Also, now, instead of paying for one abortion for one woman, because of Obama's health care plan, the government will pay for the health care of that child throughout his or her life, which, due to the child being unwanted, can lead to a great deal of psychiatric care and medication, among other things (especially if the child is neglected enough to become physically ill). So, do we save money?

    March 22, 2010 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
  4. Candy

    I am proud of President Obama and the Democrats for passing this historic bill. In regards to remains the same as it has always been. I believe abotion to be relevant in cases of rape, incest, or the health of the mother. Late term abortion is disgusting, it should only be down in the first trimester for the above reasons. Abortion should not be used as a form of birth control. Keep your legs closed or practice safe sex. There needs to be more affordable availiblity of birth control. It's our bodies and our responsibility to protect it.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
  5. Som

    See, here's the gig. When Clinton and Obama were battling it out, and Clinton lost, the song and dance was all "Ladies, Obama is on your side!" And all the feminists were saying, "yeah, they always say they are, but they sell us out every time." Oh, no no. Not THIS time, not THIS president. Today he literally threw a woman's right to bodily integrity under the bus to get a bill passed.

    If you say you're pro-life... but you're willing to kill a bill that could save a LOT of lives to get an executive order confirming that women don't *really* own their own bodies... not *really*. Sounds to me like you're not pro-life. You're PRO-BABY. Or perhaps just pro-punishing naughty women? If you people were REALLY pro-life, you'd be tea party mobbing for Universal Healthcare. Think of all the women who could then rest easy and keep their pregnancy, because we have decent and civilized medical system. But no no, that would be socialism (unless you're over 65, then it's Medicare and Social Security).

    And to all the "do the crime, do the time" people... you really think kids should be a punishment? You really want someone that irresponsible raising a kid? And why is it always on the woman? Why don't we, say, enforce fathers to take some responsibility too? Or *gasp* teach sex ed and contraception! One really keen way to stop abortion is to use contraception! Mind blowing.

    And finally, the bill wouldn't use federal dollars to pay for abortions. If you could actually READ it, you'll see. No federal dollars. What these woman-haters want is a bill that says that a woman who has a subsidized insurance plan CAN NOT BUY a plan, WITH HER OWN MONEY, that covers abortion (medially indicated or voluntary). So we're actually REMOVING insurance from one special group, those naughty naughty women. But really? Wealthy white women will always get their abortions. They got them just fine before Roe, and poor and women of color suffered and died.


    March 22, 2010 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. LS

    Why does NOW care more about abortion than the fact that millions more women will now have access to health care? Shouldn't they be celebrating the number of women the bill will help? I think it was worth the trade-off... especially since the executive order only reiterates what is already the law.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. Anne

    I do understand why he is doing what he's doing but I'm not in agreement with the Hyde Amendment however. As a Pro-Choice female and one must understand that pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion - nobody wants to have an abortion and it is not being used as birth control for heaven's sake.... at the very least that is called Plan B. The problem now is that women who need abortions or CHOOSE (and remember, it IS legal to have them in this country whether you like it or not) to have them (and it is a woman's right to have one) – but now if she can't afford it, she'll have to return to the back alley where her care will be less than adequate and probably not performed by a physician... is that the answer we want? So what we're left with is the right to choose... if you can afford it and that's called discrimination of the lower/middle class which is what NOW and NARAL are objecting to and so do I.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
  8. pat

    I agree that responsibility for an abortion needs to be assumed by the parties involved in the pregnancy, but sometimes things just don't work out so neatly. Many of the men do not want to get involved in anything having to do with an unwanted pregnancy, including helping to pay for an abortion. And there are many women who do not have the money themselves. I see nothing wrong with having this medical procedure subsidized by government just like any other procedure. However, I see the importance of getting the health care reform bill passed. This bill is not going to be the end-all to national health care. This is a first step. I hope in coming years the topic of abortion will become less and less an emotional issue and all women will have the freedom of complete medical care, including abortion. Obama's deal was necessary.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:23 am | Report abuse |
  9. Goldlizard

    This is the only thing our President has done since being elected that I actually can't find a fault with. I do not want to be forced to spend my tax money on an elective surgery, esp one that I feel is murder. I'm already spending my money on the lazy people on welfare that don't even attempt to get a job or better their life. He in no way stated abortion is banned (though I really wish he would, for all the children in this world). He stated that the American people will not use their tax money for something that a small percentage of people think is ok, And if you were paying attention, he did state that in cases of rape and harm to the mother the fed goverment will pay for those abortions. I don't think abortion is right for any reason, but I can understand the compromise. I know from experience, there are WAY too many couples that can't have kids and can't afford thousands of dollars for an adoption. So in our minds, why would you even think of killing those precious babies when all we would ask for is just one? And for those of us who can't have our own, but find a way to pay for an adoption, please allow your child to live so we can give it a good home that you can't or won't provide.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
  10. Leah

    One comment ,mentioned she believed that abortion should be a choice for those who could not make a committment to being a parent. Why stop at abortion? Why not allow the parents the possiblity of killing the child say up to 3 hours, days, or months of age if things are not working out? What is really the difference, as babies are being able to survive at earlier and earlier degrees of prematurity.

    As a female, I don't feel I should have the right to kill my unborn child any more than I should have the right to kill an already born child. I am all for freedom/individual rights but my rights end where it infringes on someone else's right. Ending someone's life is the ultimate infringement.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
  11. Bill Rocker

    NOW is out of touch. They're part of the problem. Glad to see them get their noses rubbed in the dirt. They deserve it. They can believe abortion is right but how dare me if I think it's wrong. Hypocrites. HA HA HA, they lose. I LOVE it!

    March 22, 2010 at 2:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. SS

    The fact is, there are a lot of things we pay for in taxes that we don't use or even want. I don't have children, yet I still pay for public schools and I'm happy to do it. I have a job, yet I still put money into the government that pays for welfare. Just because you don't use it doesn't mean that it doesn't have worth. It concerns me that a majority of people posting here have implicated "women" in "getting pregnant." Last I heard, females didn't self-fertilize, so let's not pretend that it's women "holding up" healthcare. Also, a lot of "bad decisions" lead to major health problems. Oral and throat cancer used to be relatively rare, but the incidence is increasing due to HPV infection of the oropharynx. Should I have to pay for your cancer to be treated and removed because you couldn't bother to use a condom when engaging in oral sex? Should I have to pay because you ate unhealthily your entire life and now have diabetes, hypertension, and other complications related to obesity? Should I have to pay because you smoked yourself into COPD and cancer? I will have to, so we should probably throw this whole "pay for your own decisions" angle out the window. Federal funding for abortion does not mean that you must have an abortion; the option is there for those who need it and who do indeed pay into it. Also, this argument that a "small percentage" is holding up the greater good just leaves a bad taste. When we start compromising groups of people for the greater good, we have lost good altogether.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
  13. Lauren

    NOW is working to give women voices who are otherwise voiceless. The overworked, underpaid, and tired women of this country who have zero time to spend on the internet are the ones represented by Terry O'Neill, not necessarily the women who have the time to read and comment on news articles online.

    NOW held a long campaign before the bill was signed urging women and men alike to call lawmakers to vote to get this Stupak amendment out of the bill. Alas, it was to no avail, so Terry made this statement.

    NOW has come a long way from its founding in the 1960s to advance equality for women with regards to politics, the workforce, and education. Today, one of NOW's main goals is to advocate for women for reproductive issues, which includes abortion rights. I am proud of NOW for being so outspoken on this issue when few other groups dare to speak.

    The women who run NOW are not selfish or rich by any means, so as you should in any situation, get to know the person or persons you are attacking before making such rude statements. Do not base it on quotations alone.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
  14. Nana

    They are forcing me to see my tax dollars spent on wars I loathe and money put into the pockets of corrupt foreign governments. I'd rather spend my money helping women with a choice I personally loathe but must stay legal. Abortion IS legal, so the government needs to stop behaving as if it isn't.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
  15. Kristal Mac Leod

    no human has the right to deny life to another human, government should make it mandatory to fullfill a human cycle' while conception has flourished ' once human nature has taken in effect over' it's a foregone conclusion that conception has happened' and a human live's through his mother's nourishment, it's that plain' and it's that simple' it's a scientific certainty' what a women does to a human body being developed is unjust and unconstitutional (classified ) as cruel and unusual punishment, the President' and the politician's that seen this fight as just' have won the day for human rights, mother's your cycle was complete choose life ' there are many loving caring human's that need fulfillment' again' choose life.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
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