White House to Meet With Anti-Abortion Activists Next Week

By MichaelJames

Sep 11, 2009 7:11pm

Concerned that health care reform bills in Congress don’t explicitly exclude coverage for abortion, Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life Action – a former senior advisor to the 2008 Huckabee for President campaign – wrote to President Obama in June.

Both the House and Senate bills “would delegate to bureaucratic committees the role of determining the minimum benefits that any private or public health care plan must offer,” Yoest wrote to President Obama.  “Courts have broadly interpreted the ‘mandatory categories of care’ within Medicaid – such as ‘family planning,’ ‘outpatient services,’ ‘inpatient services,’ and ‘physician services’ — to include abortion. Therefore, there is little doubt that courts will also include abortion within such categories in any health care reform bill unless abortion is expressly excluded.”

Yoest said that whatever her Republican past, “We’re  a non-partisan group so I felt like we in good faith needed to make the effort” to reach out to the White House.

The White House responded to Yoest, and she will meet on Thursday, Sept. 17 with President Obama's domestic policy adviser and the director of the Domestic Policy Council, Melody Barnes, and White House director of public liaison Tina Tchen. 

In a speech at Notre Dame University earlier this year, President Obama talked about abortion rights supporters and opponents coming together to find “common ground.”

Yoest said she will discuss abortion, so-called "conscience" clauses that allow medical professionals to refuse to provide procedures they find morally objectionable, and care for the elderly.

-jpt

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