Thanks to pro-life groups and backlash over health care reform, the Democratic pro-life vote in the House of Representatives is likely to halve on November 2, making abortion even more of a partisan issue.

Republicans fighting to take back the House of Representatives have focused on seats currently held by moderate, pro-life Democrats. They're getting help from pro-life organizations unhappy with these House members' votes for the health care legislation passed last spring. Conservative pro-life groups argue the bill allows federal funding of abortion, though President Obama signed an executive order prohibiting abortion funding.

"There certainly is a real prospect that the number of pro-life Democrats will decline," said John Green, a professor of political science at the University of Akron. "There's been a lot of complaint across the political spectrum that American politics is too polarized on issues like abortion. And yet the results of this election may be to polarize it even more in Congress because the pro-life voices are likely to be less common in the Democratic caucus and more common in the Republican caucus."

The Susan B. Anthony List and other pro-life groups have pulled endorsements from these Democrats and are campaigning for Republican challengers against incumbents such as Steven Driehaus (Ohio), and Kathy Dahlkemper (Penn.).* Along with retiring Democrats such as Bart Stupak (Mich.), Bart Gordon (Tenn.), and Charles Melancon (La.), these representatives' districts will likely go Republican on November 2.

The region likely to see the most significant change is the Ohio River Valley of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. With a high percentage of Catholic voters, these districts have tended to elect pro-life ...

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