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Obama Puts Politics Before Principle in Abortion Coverage, Says Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice President

WASHINGTON , July 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement of Reverend Dr. Carlton W. Veazey, President and CEO, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice:

Overhauling our health care system is a moral imperative; we are failing as a nation to care for our people in the most basic way. How we rehaul our health care system will show whether we are willing to live up to our principles and commitments. President Obama has repeatedly stated he is "pro-choice," yet in an interview July 22 with CBS' "Evening News," he said that lawmakers should "not get distracted by the abortion debate" as they weigh health reform legislation. This is troubling.

President Obama's reply to "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric was careful. He did not dismiss the possibility of abortion coverage, nor did he use the issue to stir up political passions. However, he put politics before principle - and before health care. (Reproductive health care is basic health care for women and it includes abortion, which is a medical procedure.) Perhaps this is to be expected in this politically charged environment. However, it is a great disappointment to those of us hoping for presidential leadership.

When asked by Ms. Couric if he would favor a government option that would cover abortions, President Obama replied what he thinks is "important, at this stage, is not trying to micro-manage what benefits are covered." He also said, "As you know, I'm pro-choice. But I think we also have the tradition of, in this town, historically, of not financing abortions as part of government-funded health care." It was our hope that President Obama would change this attitude and consider abortion as a health care issue. It is distressing to hear President Obama reinforcing that way of thinking.

The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice is the national interfaith coalition of religious and religiously affiliated organizations from 15 denominations and faith traditions. Member organizations include the Presbyterian Church (USA), the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, the Women's Division of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, Catholics for Choice, and the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements of Judaism.

SOURCE Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
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