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Letter to President Obama
President Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
August 18, 2009
Dear President Obama:
We would like to respectfully request a meeting with you to discuss the impact
of the very important healthcare reform legislation and how it will impact the
African-American community and other at-risk groups. Many leaders have come to
Washington, DC this week in bipartisan support for “Define the Dream” healthcare
discussions in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in search of The
Mr. President, in the Beloved Community envisioned by Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr., equal justice means that young people in the womb are not terminated and
the elderly in ill health are not denied care because of their age.
We are concerned that your current healthcare plan will not serve the needs of
those who are most at risk.
The African American community is severely disproportionately affected by
abortion, which would not only be expanded under current healthcare proposals,
but also be paid for by taxpayers. Planned Parenthood’s informational branch,
The Alan Guttmacher Institute, reports that 37 % of all abortions are performed
on black women, even though blacks constitute roughly 13% of the U.S.
population. Abortion has claimed the lives of about one-third of the black
If healthcare reform passes, we have no doubt the number of African American
women having abortions will sky rocket. The healthcare bill text needs to
clearly exclude abortion from any taxpayer-subsidized or government-mandated
benefits. Abortion is not health care.
People with disabilities, terminal illnesses, and the elderly, all who need
special and expensive care, are also at risk of losing accessibly to doctors and
having care denied or delayed. There are 49.7 million citizens who live with
disabilities. We are concerned that patient care would be made based primarily
on cost and that people with disabilities or special health needs will be put on
waiting lists, or worse yet, denied potentially life-saving procedures outright.
We want to make sure that these citizens will not be delayed or denied
Doctors and healthcare professionals are also at risk of losing their conscience
protections. A national scientific survey of Americans found that 62% oppose
rescinding the conscience clause. This country was founded upon the respect for
personal freedom. No one should be forced to go against his or her conscience in
order to keep their job. Without specific language in the healthcare bill to
protect healthcare professionals who decline to perform or refer for abortions,
doctors, nurses, pharmacists, midwives and other health processionals will be
forced to go against their moral values or forfeit their jobs.
We, the undersigned, urge you and your colleagues to seriously consider the
concerns we have outlined above. Now is the time for Democrats and Republicans
to come together to stand for compassionate care for all Americans, joining the
chorus of “Free At Last” as proclaimed in Dr. King’s “ I Have A Dream” speech.
Dr. Alveda King
Director African American Outreach
Priests for Life
National Black Pro-Life Union
Bishop Harry Jackson
Senior Pastor of Hope Christian Church and founder High Impact Leadership
Pastor Dean Nelson
Network of Politically Active Christians
Dr. Donna Harrison
American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Democrats for Life