McIntyre & Shuler Won't Support Public Health Plan that provides funding for abortions

The following letter was sent to Nancy Pelosi by 19 conservative Democrats. North Carolina's Heath Shuler and Mike McIntyre were among those who signed the letter.

June 25, 2009

Dear Honorable Pelosi:

As the debate on health care reform continues and legislation is produced, it is imperative that the issue of abortion not be overlooked. Plans to mandate coverage for abortions, either directly or indirectly is unacceptable.

We believe in a culture that supports and respects the right to life and is dedicated to the protection and preservation of families. Therefore, we cannot support any health care reform proposal unless it explicitly excludes abortion from the scope of any government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan. We believe that a government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan, should not be used to fund abortion.

Furthermore, we want to ensure that the Health Benefits Advisory Committee cannot recommend abortion services be included under covered benefits or as part of a benefits package. Without an explicit exclusion, abortion could be included in a government subsidized health care plan under general health care. The health care reform package produced by Congress will be landmark, and with legislation as important as this, abortion must be addressed clearly in the bill text.

Furthermore, funding restrictions save lives by reducing the number of abortions. The Guttmacher Policy Review, a leading pro-choice research organization noted "that about one third of women who would have had an abortion if support were available carried their pregnancies to term when the abortion fund was unavailable."

Thank you for taking the time to consider our request. By ensuring that abortions are not funded through any health care reform package, we will take this controversial issue off the table so that Congress can focus on crafting a broadly-supported health care reform bill.

Respectfully yours,

Reps. Dan Boren (D-OK); Bart Stupak (D-MI); Colin Peterson (D-MN); Tim Holden (D-PA); Travis Childers (D-MS); Lincoln Davis (D-TN); Heath Shuler (D-NC) Solomon Ortiz (D-TX); Mike McIntyre (D-NC); Jerry Costello (D-IL); Gene Taylor (D-MS); James Oberstar (D-MN); Bobby Bright (D-AL); Steve Driehaus (D-OH); Marcy Kaptur (D-OH); Charlie Melancon (D-LA); John Murtha (D-PA); Paul Kanjorski (D-PA); and Kathleen Dahlkemper (D-PA).

Ah, yes, Shuler and McIntyre..those morally superior men, always concerned about those most at risk in our society. I guess we women should all just feel lucky that we aren't gang raped, beheaded or stoned to death for our "transgressions."


I was wondering when this ugly head

would rear itself up but I didn't think there would be two Democrats from NC inside the monster.

You knew all along they were prolife

Why are you surprised now. When rep Shuler was asked to run he made it clear he was prolife when the asked him to run, at the time no one cared.

No one cared?

Are you kidding? What's with all the generalized assumptions today? A whole lot of people cared about Shuler's offensive patronizing of women, including me. Just because he was less offensive than Charles Taylor didn't make him a darling to anyone that I know.

Rep Shuler

was heavily recruited to run for this seat by many Democrats both here in North Carolina and Bill Clinton himself. The time to object was then or in the 2006 primary when he won 75% of the vote not now. Because he is already in office.

I'm surprised they would take their narrow world view

and try to use it like a bludgeon over legislation that was mandated by the election of this President.

It's fine by me if they are anti-abortion but this is no way to further that agenda.

Betsy, on this issue

We will have to agree to disagree. Because I agree with Reps Shuler and McIntyre. I understand your passion for abortion rights I just hope you understand those of us who are equally as pasionate for the pro-life argument.

And I would hope you would respect

established law and the rights of more than half the population.

I recongnize the law

I do not like it but I recognize it. However what Reps Shuler and McIntyre and others are trying to too is keep that rare part of Bill Clinton's "safe legal and rare" in the mix. So if you want the safe and legal, why not the rare.

The rare?

You appear to be saying that women who are wealthy and connected should be able to get safe abortions. Which means that poorer women - the most likely beneficiaries of a public option - will find themselves in back alleys again. Abortion won't be more rare if it's not funded. It'll just be more dangerous.


If you feel that way, you could always donate some of your time or money to Planned Parenthood or one of the many other organizations that seek to keep abortions legal, safe and rare.

Part of the reason politics have become so hostile and partisan is because of issues like this.

Just imagine, if you were pro-life, how would you feel about the government taking your money to pay for the murder of unborn children? How would that make you feel?

Besides, aren't their mechanisms in place currently to help those that can't afford abortions? Will those go away? Why bring complicate an already messy fight?


Packman97, you wrote:
If you feel that way, you could always donate some of your time or money to Planned Parenthood or one of the many other organizations that seek to keep abortions legal, safe and rare.

Rare? I would like to think this were the case but on Planned Parenthood's own web site they state quite the opposite:
"Abortions are very common. In fact, more than 1 out of 3 women in the U.S. have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old".

1 in 3 is not quite what I would classify as rare. Unfortunately, if those statistics are true, it only goes to show that abortion is being used as an easy out for poor behavior.

Pro-life is not always anti-choice

One can strongly believe that abortion is morally wrong while not imposing action in accordance with that religious belief upon others who do not have the same belief. The difficulty is that within a democracy, the right not to abort must be protected as well as the right to choose contraception and/or abortion. Those of us who have passion for the unborn must deal with our own actions and not those of others. Only so can a theocracy be avoided.

Would that this were true

Those of us who have passion for the unborn must deal with our own actions and not those of others.

I've met several people who make this claim, but when I ask them if they are more inclined to vote for a candidate who is against abortion, the answer is usually "yes". It's really difficult to remain a neutral, inactive participant on this issue.

In gear

One cannot be neutral and I am not sure that is a good thing, anyway. One must be proactive in making sure the rights of others who do not believe that an eight-celled conceptus is mandated by God to live despite every other consideration under the sun are protected. It's a freedom of religion issue and needs to be treated as such. This case hasn't yet made it to the Supreme Court but eventually it must.

If "abortion funding" is cut out of the bill then almost all contraception will be as well, since the religious position underlying both is the same--that once fertilized, that egg has a right to be implanted over the body containing it in any and all circumstances. Thus, most contraception is also forbidden which even permits the possibility of this happening.

So long as there is such a divide in this country--and yes, 1/3 of all women of childbearing age having an abortion doesn't touch the number of those who need and use contraception--any position which does not allow moral decisions based on one's understanding of the sacredness of a single cell is counter to democracy and needs to be labelled as such, while respecting thoroughly the right of those who believe God mandates them to carry every conceptus to term to do that

Dear Questionable Representative,

As the debate on health care reform continues and legislation is produced, it is imperative that the issue of abortion not be an issue. A woman's right to choose is the law of this land and whether or not you, Sir or Madame, agree with this law is not what is at issue here. What is at issue here is the healtcare of ALL Americans, whether they be female, male, child or adult.

Please understand that I, the undersigned find your weak assed arguement to hold up healthcare reform for hundreds of million Americans over an issue that legally and Constitutionally is a non-issue to be not only showing your considerable ignorance when it comes to doing the American People's work, but also the undersigned finds you to be morally inept for threatening to continue to endanger the lives of the uninsured and underinsured due to a single issue that has no bearing on you personally.

Not-So-Respectfully yours,


North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

You nailed it but they won't pay attention.

Every time I think of these two I picture them handling snakes and moaning in ecstasy as someone is being punished for witchcraft. These guys are right out of the dark ages.

Stan Bozarth

With you on that one Stan.

I still firmly believe that if men got pregnant, abortions would have always been safe and legal.

Purity balls would be all the rage, too!

Er, I meant condoms and spermacide.

Perhaps we should get together and write the Puritan Man's Guide to Sex. Not only would it be set in the 1600's with period information, but we could explain how all women are possible conquests IF only the man wanting to conquer them could be the only ONE.

Yeah, I know. Extreme Fiction isn't selling well these days. Perhaps a book about extreme ignorance in America?

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

Why draw a line in the sand now?

I understand the legislators need to vote their conscience and even think it's appropriate to share their positions with House leadership. But to make a public statement now (regardless of position) is simply playing politics.

Most any thoughtful person (even a legislator) knows it’s much wiser to keep your powder dry until its needed. For them to show their cards now (out of principle or whatever) will likely prevent them from being able to maneuver and effectively negotiate when it comes times to genuinely consider the full health care package. Their early warning shot may indeed prevent them from being able to do what’s best for America and its people … whatever that may finally be.

Theirs is the political play of the inexperienced and the inept.

Indigo Blue

Why now?

Somehow these one issue Congressional goobers think it buy's them votes.


The ignorance is amazing, the arrogance is unbelieveable and their inability to move beyond a single issue that THEY think will make a difference to their constituants as opposed to dealing with the healthcare of all the people of this country is stunning.

Again, the answer is votes. Again, the ignorance is palpable.

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

This is another issue to throw up a 'snowstorm' that will ...

become an excuse to block the bill. Right now, I think the best strategy is to do what it takes to get the up or down vote on a heath care bill, with a public option, at least. The laws can be amended at another date. These clowns are trying not to have to record a public vote on this issue, so will throw these delaying tactics so the bribe money keeps coming. Drop the abortion issue from the bill for now.