Obama to Talk to Health Care with Faith Group Backing ‘Abortion Neutrality’

By Caitlin Taylor

Aug 10, 2009 12:36pm

ABC News' Teddy Davis reports: President Obama has agreed to participate in a public conference call on health-care reform sponsored by an organization called "People of Faith for Health Reform" on the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 19. View the call sponsors HERE. The call with Obama is part of "40 Days for Health Reform," a pro-health-care reform campaign being run by liberal religious leaders from the evangelical, mainline Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Islamic faith traditions. One of the group's goals is to ensure that the contentious issue of abortion does not scuttle the chances for health-care reform. "The key thing is we don't want abortion to enter this debate and sabotage health care reform," said the Rev. Jim Wallis on a Monday conference call with reporters. "Neither side should try to win political gains on abortion during the health care debate.". Wallis, who serves on Obama's faith council, said his group's mission is to keep universal health-care coverage alive as a "moral issue." To keep abortion from derailing health-care reform, the "40 Days for Health Reform" group is promoting a policy of "abortion neutrality." Wallis said "abortion neutrality" means abiding by the principle of "not changing federal law with regards to abortion." In particular, Wallis said his coalition of religious leaders has agreed to (1) no federal funding for abortions and (2) a "conscience clause" to ensure that health-care providers are not forced to perform abortions. Earlier today, the group sponsoring the call with Obama launched a television ad which will air nationally on CNN and MSNBC. Watch the television ad HERE.

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