HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told me on ‘This Week’ the President will go beyond language in a House bill to make sure no public money goes to pay for abortions under health care reform.
Abortion foes argue language in the House bill has too many holes and that taxpayers could potentially subsidize abortions. Sebelius told me there will be no uncertainty with the President's plan.
“In fact recently the Catholic bishops came out, after the President’s statement saying that his statement about what he intends in the plan that no public fund would go to fund abortion and the fact that he has come out firmly for insuring all Americans and saying that it’s a moral issue as well as an economic issue and they endorsed moving forward. I think the legislative language will reflect what the President has just said.”
GEORGE: “So you are saying that he will go beyond what we have seen in the House and explicitly rule out any public funding for abortion?”
SEBELIUS: “Well that’s exactly what the President said and that’s what he intends that the bill he signs will do.”
The Secretary joined Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Senator Mary Landrieu and Minnesota Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty in an exclusive debate on questions over the President's plan.
UPDATE: Our exchange drew a quick response from Douglas Johnson of the NRLC: "For months, the President, his staff, and his congressional allies have misrepresented actual language in their bills that would result in government funding of elective abortions. The latest statements by Mr. Obama and Ms. Sebelius are most likely a continuation of their strategy of denial, evasion, and distortion. We say, watch what they do, not what they say." Full NRLC Release HERE and a letter from Johnson to me HERE.
Watch our exchange from this morning HERE.
- George Stephanopoulos