Hoyer: I am and always have been pro-choice

March 15, 2010

Like Sara N. Love, I'm a longtime supporter of women's legal right to choose to have an abortion -- in fact, I've unwaveringly supported that right for 40 years. Ms. Love claims, in a Friday op-ed in the Sun ("Mr. Hoyer, stand up for reproductive rights," March 12), that I'm now working to undermine that right as part of the House's negotiations over health care reform. She is ill-informed and wrong.

Ms. Love writes, "Majority Leader Hoyer has told the press that he is negotiating with Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan, who is threatening to derail health care reform unless his dangerous abortion coverage ban is included in the health care reform bill." In fact, I told the press exactly the opposite, and it remains true: there have been no negotiations.

But I am the House Majority Leader, and it is my job to keep my door open to all of my Democratic colleagues. When any of my colleagues asks me to meet with them, I will do so, regardless of whether or not I share their convictions on the policy they wish to discuss. Every Democrat, pro-choice and pro-life, shares the goal of passing health insurance reform. We must be able to talk to each other -- even if we disagree -- to turn that goal into a reality. This is the opportunity of a generation. And we know that if we fail, America will face another generation of mounting costs for families and businesses, medical bankruptcies, more and more uninsured, and ever deeper debt.

So my goal, and Democrats' goal, is to send the best possible bill for the American people to President Obama's desk. I am confident that the final result will not deviate from 33 years of settled policy: the federal government does not fund abortions with federal tax dollars, but it does preserve every woman's right to choose.

Steny H. Hoyer, Washington

The writer is the majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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