Pelosi Again Dodges Question of Whether She Supports Tax-Funded Abortions in Health Care Bill

By Monica Gabriel | July 31, 2009 | 6:38 PM EDT

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) (AP File Photo)

( - Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for a second time dodged a question from Friday about whether she supported prohibiting abortion funding in the health-care reform bill.
At a press conference on Friday, asked: “Could you please give me a yes-or-no answer on whether or not you personally, Speaker Pelosi, support expressly prohibiting the funding of abortion through the federally subsidized health plan created by the health-care reform bill.”

Pelosi did not give a yes-or-no answer.
“Well, my position on a women’s right to choose is well known,” Pelosi responded. “This issue, however, will not stand in the way of us advancing the health-care legislation. Again the committees of jurisdiction--in fact, today Energy and Commerce, tomorrow as they work on the bill, may be addressing that issue.”
Americans did get a clear understanding of Pelosi’s position on abortion after a widely publicized interview in 2008 with Tom Brokaw on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“We want abortions to be safe, rare, and reduce the number of abortions,” Pelosi told Brokaw in August 2008.
Pelosi also said that a women’s decision to have an abortion is one that she makes “with her doctor and her God.”
While Pelosi’s position in support of abortion rights is well known, the question of whether she would support a health-care bill that permits or requires taxpayer funding of abortion continues to go unanswered.
The speaker has been questioned on the issue several times.

Earlier this month, asked Pelosi about a letter that 19 House Democrats wrote to her saying that they would not support health-care legislation unless it explicitly excludes federal funding for abortion. 

“Do you support these Democrats or do you want to have coverage for abortion and reproductive services for women included in health care reform legislation?” asked Pelosi.

“We have a number of letters that are coming in to us,” responded Pelosi. “I don’t know if they are all saying they are not going to support the bill, but that it might be more difficult for them to support the bill.” 

“All of these issues will be worked out through the legislative process,” she added.

Pelosi also dodged the question when asked by CNN on July 26. 

“If this bill passes and there's a public option, should that public option cover abortions?” CNN's John King asked Pelosi on his program, “State of the Union with John King.”
“That's not, that's not the issue. The issue is people go out there to--we'll be working on that issue. But that's not the issue,” Pelosi said. 

“We have people who are working together to help promote health insurance for all Americans, that people will be treated the same in a public option as they are in a private option,” Pelosi added.
“And that this issue should not be an issue, being respectful of (Rep.) Bart Stupak's (D-Mich.) concerns and respectful of full reproductive health care for America's women,” Pelosi concluded. 

Rep. Stupak is one of the House Democrats who has requested that the health-care bill not allow federal funding of abortion.
An amendment that would prevent federal funding of abortion through federally subsidized health-care plans was approved last week in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. However, the chairman of the committee, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), invoked a rule that allowed him to call for a second vote.  The amendment was then defeated on that second vote 30-29 vote. correspondent Edwin Mora contributed to this report.