A new poll from the Pew Research Center shows that support for legalized abortion has dropped to its lowest level in years. In the past year, the number of Americans who said abortion should be legal in most or all cases dropped from 54 percent to 47 percent, and pollsters note the shift “could be connected to Obama’s election.”
Dr. Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, who met with the White House last month on the issue of abortion in health care, said of the dramatic shift, “The political implications of the shift illustrated by this poll are significant: including abortion in health care reform is a move out of touch with the American people. Congress needs to remove the abortion mandate out of the current health care proposals.”
Despite Americans’ opposition to having their tax money pay for abortions, Minnesota Democratic Sen. Max Baucus’s health care bill requires the government to spend $6 billion establishing co-ops that could cover abortion. An amendment proposed last week by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) that would have explicitly prohibited federal funding and coverage of abortions was defeated by the Senate Finance Committee by a vote of 10-13. The committee also voted down an amendment by Senator Hatch that would have prevented discrimination against any individual or entity that refused to provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.
Dr. Yoest added, “We continue to see a gap between rhetoric and reality on the Hill: If members of Congress do not intend for the health care reform bills to fund and mandate abortion coverage, then why have they voted against all amendments that would have included explicit language excluding abortion funding and coverage?”