Reviewing the records of President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama

Editor’s note. These remarks were delivered Friday morning by National Right to Life President Carol Tobias at the NRL convention just prior to a candidates forum that included five announced Republican candidates running for President.

Carol Tobias, National Right to Life President

When our founding fathers were creating this wonderful new country, John Adams wrote, “It has been the will of Heaven that we should be thrown into existence at a period when the greatest philosophers and lawgivers of antiquity would have wished to live … a period when a coincidence of circumstances without example has afforded to thirteen colonies at once an opportunity of beginning government anew from the foundation and building as they choose. How few of the human race have ever had an opportunity of choosing a system of government for themselves and their children?  How few have ever had anything more of choice in government than in climate?”

Whether you consider this country to be blessed, fortunate, or just lucky, we have a system of government that allows for a regular, peaceful process to take place as we choose our leaders through a democratic system.

Consider what happens in so many countries.  One person is in charge, someone else pulls together their little army, marches into the capital, de-thrones the leader, so to speak, and becomes the new leader.  Or you have something like what we’re seeing in the Middle East.  People want changes, they want a new leader, so they rebel.  Sometimes they succeed, oftentimes they don’t.  Many people around the world have as much influence on their government as they do on the weather.

For more than 200 years, we have been able to watch and listen and participate as candidates campaign– seeking our support and eventually our votes.  We evaluate, we compare, we judge, then we elect. 

The actions and decisions of the person holding the highest office in the land is critical to so much of what we do.  I would like to review for you now the records of our last two presidents.

Elected in 2000, George W. Bush was unquestionably a pro-life president.  As one of his first acts in the White House, President Bush re-instituted the “Mexico City Policy,” so that our tax funds would not be given to organizations that perform or promote abortion overseas.  His Administration cut off funding for the United Nations Population Fund because of that agency’s involvement in China’s compulsory-abortion program.

President Bush signed into law the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.  When legal challenges were filed to the Act, his Administration successfully defended the law and it was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, which included two of his appointments, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.

President Bush also signed into law the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, and legislation to prevent health care providers from being penalized by the federal, state, or local governments for not providing abortions.

President Bush threatened to veto any bill that weakened any existing pro-life policy.  His strong position prevented successful attacks on the Hyde Amendment, which prevents tax dollars from being used to pay for abortions in the Medicaid program.

President Bush strongly advocated a complete ban on human cloning, and helped defeat “clone and kill” legislation.  His administration played a key role in the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of their declaration calling on member nations to ban all forms of human cloning, and in including language in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which protects persons with disabilities from being denied food, water and medical care.

Pro-life President Bush was succeeded by President Barack Obama.  On his second day in office, January 22, 2009, President Obama issued a statement reaffirming his commitment to defend the Roe v Wade ruling, which gave us abortion on demand.  On his third day in office, he overturned the “Mexico City Policy” thereby allowing organizations that perform and promote abortions to be eligible for U.S. foreign aid funds.

As our federal legislative director, Doug Johnson, stated, “President Obama’s order will put hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into the hands of organizations that aggressively promote abortion as a population-control tool in the developing world.”

March of 2009 was a busy month for President Obama.  He released $50 million to the United Nations Population Fund – an agency that had received no U.S. funds under the Bush Administration because it is involved in China’s population-control program, which relies heavily upon forced abortion as part of their population control policy.  President Obama issued an executive order that opened the door to federal funding of research that requires the killing of human embryos, reversing President Bush’s 2001 order that blocked federal funding of embryo-killing research.

Last month, the United States House of Representatives took under consideration the “No Taxpayer Funding for Action Act.”  Prior to the vote, the Obama administration attacked the bill and threatened to veto it if passed.  The House passed it anyway; the Senate has not taken action on it.

Also last month, Indiana passed a law to cut off tax funding to health providers that perform abortions, most notably Planned Parenthood.  The Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the largest provider of abortions in the nation.  In 2009, their clinics performed more than 330,000 abortions, accounting for more than a third of their clinic income.  On June 1, the Obama administration announced that they would withhold $4 billion in Medicaid funding from the state of Indiana until their law is changed.

In a letter to the Administrator for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Senator Orrin Hatch and 27 other senators responded, “We are concerned about press reports indicating that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is considering cutting the entirety of Indiana’s federal Medicaid match over this issue.  While the Obama Administration’s view on the appropriateness of sending taxpayer dollars to Medicaid providers that perform abortions may differ from the view of the State of Indiana, we trust that you will not jeopardize care for more than a million Hoosiers over this ideology.  Given CMS’ recent informational bulletin issued to all states on this issue, we certainly hope that you are not actually considering jeopardizing care for the nation’s 70 million Medicaid beneficiaries over this ideological difference.”

Even more far-reaching is how President Obama is impacting our health care system.  In 2010, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  This law contains multiple provisions authorizing federal subsidies for abortion, and additional provisions on which future abortion-expanding regulatory mandates may be based.  You may remember that President Obama signed an executive order prohibiting the use of funds in the health care bill for abortions, but even Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, called it a “symbolic gesture.”

Our federal legislative department has summarized the abortion-related problems with the Obama health care law:

1.  The law authorizes tax subsidies for the purchase of health plans that cover abortion on demand.

2.  The law establishes a new program under which the federal government would administer health plans that cover abortion on demand.

3.  The law empowers federal political appointees to expand access to abortion by administrative decree.  In other words, someone appointed by the president could mandate unlimited abortion coverage in most private health plans.

4. The law allows federal funding of abortion on demand through all Indian Health programs.

5.  The law does NOT protect healthcare providers from being penalized for refusing to participate in providing abortions.  Pro-life doctors and nurses may be faced with the decision to help in the killing of an innocent unborn child or find another profession.

6.  The law provides $7 billion for the nation’s 1,250 Community Health Centers.  There is no abortion restriction on this money and pro-abortion groups are already campaigning for the Health Centers to perform abortions, so this law allows direct federal funding of abortion on demand through the Health Centers.

7.  The law provides another $5 Billion for temporary high-risk health insurance pools and $6 Billion in grants for health co-ops.  No restrictions are placed on these funds so they also may be used by pro-abortion appointees to pay for abortion.

Along with the expansion of abortion through this new law, the law contains multiple provisions will result in government imposed rationing of life-saving medical care. 

The Obama Health Care Law sets up an 18-member “Independent Payment Advisory Board,” with the duty of limiting government Medicare payments to below the rate of medical inflation.  Under the Obama law, not even Congress can increase Medicare payments limited by this board. This is part of how, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the Obama law will cut $555 billion from Medicare over ten years.  Seniors just won’t get the medical care they want or need.

Less widely known, is the law’s provision allowing Washington bureaucrats to prevent older Americans from making up the Medicare shortfall with their own funds – taking away senior citizens’ right to spend their own money to save their own lives. 

Let me repeat that, to make sure you understand–  under the Obama Health Care Law, Medicare will not just be cut $555 billion over ten years, not even keeping up with medical inflation.  The law also allows Washington bureaucrats to prevent older Americans from making up the Medicare shortfall with their own funds – taking away senior citizens’ right to spend their own money to save their own lives.

This “Independent Payment Advisory Board” is also charged with making recommendations to the federal department of Health and Human Services to limit how much of your own money you, as a private citizen, are allowed to spend on health care for you and your family members (again)– so that it is below the rate of medical inflation.  This limit will apply to all Americans, not just senior citizens on Medicare.

So the Board will impose limits on Medicare recipients and make recommendations for everyone else.  Federal bureaucrats can implement these recommendations administratively, meaning no congressional oversight or review is necessary.  To do so, the Obama health care law gives them power to impose so-called “quality and efficiency” measures on hospitals, requiring the hospitals to report on how they are complying with these standards.  Doctors will have to comply with the quality measures in order to be able to contract with any qualified health insurance plan.

Basically, doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers will be told by Washington which diagnostic tests and what medical care meet “quality and efficiency” standards – not only for government programs like Medicare, but also for health care paid for by private citizens and their private health insurance.  These standards will be specifically designed to limit what ordinary Americans may choose to spend on their own health care so that it is BELOW the rate of medical inflation.  There’s that target level again.

Treatment that a doctor and patient think is necessary or advisable to save that patient’s life or improve the patient’s health– but which goes against the government-imposed standards– will be denied, even if the patient is willing and able to pay for it.

In effect, there will be one uniform national standard of care, established by Washington bureaucrats, set with a view to limiting what you are allowed to spend on saving your own life.

As John Adams remarked, “How few of the human race have ever had an opportunity of choosing a system of government for themselves and their children?  How few have ever had anything more of choice in government than in climate?”

We are again entering a time of campaigning, and debating, and all the fun that goes with it.  We thank all the candidates who enter into this grueling campaign and look forward to the coming months.

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