Health Care Reform Energizes Pro-Life Movement

Article excerpt

Byline: Julia Duin, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The battle over President Obama's health care overhaul has produced an unexpected beneficiary: the pro-life movement, which is summoning support and gathering contributions at a rate not seen since the partial-birth abortion debates of the mid-1990s.

Leaders of the movement are not only promising an electoral showdown in November but they've chosen a new villain: Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan.

The pro-life Democrat's last-minute switch in favor of the legislation passed Sunday has infuriated movement partisans. Mr. Stupak is already paying the price: The Susan B. Anthony List immediately stripped him of a Defender of Life award it was planning to bestow on him Wednesday at its third annual Campaign for Life gala at the Willard InterContinental in downtown Washington.

Let me be clear: Any representative, including Rep. Stupak, who votes for this health care bill can no longer call themselves 'pro-life,'" said the group's president, Marjorie Dannenfelser.

Representatives of pro-life groups promise that new ground troops younger than 30 are at the ready and hint at the blossoming of a tax resistance movement if taxpayers are forced to subsidize abortions.

For the younger generation, this is the Roe v. Wade of their generation, said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. This will dramatically change the political landscape in November. Polls say 60 [percent] to 70 percent of the American public are opposed to being forced to pay for abortion.

If the bill is not derailed by legal challenges from the states and if the November elections do not bring about change, Then you will have no choice to participate in something that is morally wrong, he added.

Mr. Stupak, whose opposition to federally funded abortion had dominated much of the recent debate, swung to the yes column after Mr. Obama issued an executive order affirming prohibitions in current law and in the health care legislation against taxpayer money going to abortions.

The last-minute compromise ensured Mr. Obama the support of several pro-life Democrats, but pro-life groups aren't buying it.

I stood outside Bart Stupak's door as he and his staff cowered inside, said Peggy Nance, chief executive officer for Concerned Women for America, about Sunday afternoon's debate at the Capitol. We begged him to protect life but he was dismissive.

Less than 24 hours after the vote, a group of pro-lifers was demonstrating outside St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, holding placards stating No Communion for [Nancy] Pelosi. Other signs urged Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl to excommunicate the House speaker.

This crisis continues; baby-killing 'Catholic' politicians are still receiving Communion, pro-life activist Randall Terry wrote Monday in an e-mail to supporters. The ugly news [is] the Vatican is well aware of our crisis and there is just as much in-fighting as in the U.S.

The bill tries to maintain a separation between taxpayer funds and private premiums that would pay for abortion coverage. No health care plan would be required to offer coverage for the procedure. In plans that do cover abortion, beneficiaries would have to pay for it separately, and those funds would have to be kept in a separate account from taxpayer money.

Moreover, individual states would be able to prohibit abortion coverage in plans offered through a new purchasing exchange. Exceptions would be made for cases of rape, incest and danger to the life of the mother.

Abortion foes contend that the separation of funds is an accounting gimmick, and in reality taxpayers would be paying for abortion because health plans that cover abortion would be getting federal money.

Even pro-choice Democrats aren't happy.

Rep. Diana DeGette, Colorado Democrat, a pro-choice lawmaker, said she thinks current law and the language in the health care bill go too far in restricting access to abortion. …