House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, told anti-abortion activists gathered in Findlay for their national convention Saturday he will co-sponsor a bill barring the use of federal money for abortion.
Delegates to the National Right to Life Committee's 40th annual convention rose to their feet repeatedly to applaud the Ohio congressman as they honored him with their Legislative Leadership award. The award honored Boehner's career fighting to ban partial birth abortion, assisted suicide and federal funding for abortion.
Darla St. Martin, co-executive director of the group, accidentally referred to Boehner as the House speaker in her introduction the group, spurring the group in the ballroom of the Hyatt Regency to explode in applause.
"I think you liked my mistake. That's what I wanted to happen," St. Martin said. Her sentiment echoed the call for congressional change. The charge has resonated throughout the three-day conference where 800 delegates gathered with movement leaders, who called for the repeal of the health care reform act.
Boehner shared the dais yesterday with fellow abortion opponents, Republican Rep. Tim Murphy of Upper St. Clair and GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett. Both men addressed the crowd briefly before St. Martin introduced Boehner.
Standing at a podium backed by an array of American flags and a banner bearing the legend "We are making a difference," an emotional Boehner thanked the group for its work.
"It really isn't my work we should be celebrating today, it's your work. ... Your work has made a difference," Boehner said.
Boehner called President Obama's executive order banning federal funding for abortion a "disingenuous, last-minute" effort to secure passage of the bill. Abortion opponents have vowed to target pro-life Democrats who voted for the bill and are actively calling for its repeal.
"Pro-life America ... doubted the administration's sincerity -- and with good reason. We're three months into implementation of the new health care law -- and as far as anyone can tell, the administration hasn't lifted a finger to enforce the president's executive order on abortion."
Boehner said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., will introduce a bill banning all federal funding for abortion, which he will co-sponsor.
"I believe this must be the next objective for pro-life America. It's clear from the health care debate that the American people don't want their tax dollars paying for abortion, and a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives agrees. It's the will of the people, and it ought to be the law of the land - right now," he said.