By Dave Andrusko
Just as we were about to post National Right to Life News Today, a story came across the wire described as an “AP Exclusive.” I have just a few minutes to encapsulate the story, the gist of which was captured nicely by the headline: “DC paid for 300 abortions for low-income women before Congress forced city halt.”
Except for a very brief period, prior to the 2008 election of pro-abortion President Obama and concomitant Democratic control of both houses of Congress, there was a ban on the District of Columbia paying for abortions going back to 1988. That ban was lifted in 2009 and lasted until the ban was re-imposed last April.
During the two years Congress allowed the District of Columbia (jurisdictionally, a federal enclave) to spend money on elective abortions the city spent $185,000 for 300 abortions, according to the Associated Press (AP).
“The responsibility for these 300 government-funded abortions rests squarely with President Obama, who urged Congress to lift the longstanding ban in 2009, and with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, who rammed through the repeal without allowing roll call votes on the issue in either house of Congress,” said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson. “Some of these unborn children would be alive today, if it had not been for the Obama-dictated change in policy.”
Johnson noted that when Obama ran for President, “he said he would push policies to reduce abortions, but this is one of many examples in which his pro-abortion actions belie those empty words. Thanks to Speaker John Boehner and other House Republican leaders, the pro-life ban was restored during negotiations last spring — but we can expect renewed clashes over the issue during the months ahead.”
The details about the District of Columbia are known only because the AP filed a Freedom of Information Act request–and the fact that “The number of abortions the city now says it paid for contrasts with previous statements.”
Mayor Vincent Gray told Congress in May that the number of abortions was 117, according to the AP. The mayor’s office agreed the 300 figure was accurate and explained the “discrepancy” to bills not being submitted on time. Notably “City spokeswoman Doxie McCoy said that the exact number of abortions the city paid for could still rise because claims are still being processed.”
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