Obama Strikes Nerve in Abortion Funding Debate

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From town halls to conference calls, health care reform continues to dominate President Barack Obama's daily agenda.

Now, the debate is turning religious, with the president using the Bible against some of his critics.

Obama's latest salvo came in a call to liberal religious groups who support his health care plan.

"I know there's been a lot of misinformation in this debate and there are some folks out there who are frankly bearing false witness, but I want everyone to know what health insurance reform is all about," he said.

Click play for more analysis with Charles Dunn of the Regent University School of Government.

"You've heard that there's a government takeover of health care.  That's not true," Obama continued.  "You've heard that this is all going to mean government funding of abortion.  This is not true."

Obama's charge that his opponents broke the ninth commandment came as a coalition of 40 pro-life groups ran a new ad opposing the health care plan.

The "Stop the Mandate" campaign urges Americans to, "Join the largest pro-life coalition ever assembled.  Stand for the unborn.  Stand for the unborn.  We can."

Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life was on the line for the Obama phone call and was outraged.

Hawkins says that although the word abortion is not mentioned in the bills before Congress, its supporters have allowed for it with other language.

"I've been working tirelessly for the past three months solely on this health care issue, trying to educate Christians and pro-lifers about what this bill will do, how it will fund abortions and be the largest expansion of abortion since Roe vs. Wade," she said.  "Then for our president to come out and say that I was bearing false witness?"

"The bill mentions any medically necessary procedure, which if you talk to a pro-abortion congressman or senator, they will say that abortion is medically necessary for the woman who is seeking an abortion," Hawkins added.

Pro-life leaders say they're looking for the president and Congress to get specific about the abortion language.

"We want a very simple, direct statement, much like the Hyde Amendment accomplished for more than 30 years," said Colby May of the American Center for Law and Justice.  "[One] that simply says abortion funding is not available under a mandatory health care program implemented by the federal government."

In the meantime, the president and his supporters are scrambling to control the moral high ground in the health care debate.

"These are all fabrications that have been put out there in order to discourage people from meeting what I consider to be a core ethical and moral obligation, and that is that we look out for one another," President Obama said.  "I am my brother's keeper and my sister's keeper and in the wealthiest nation on this earth right now, we are neglecting to live up to that call."

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John Waage

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John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.