Pro-life Leaders Urge Action Against Abortion Health Care
If you tried to log on to the Stop the Abortion Mandate webcast Thursday night, your connection may have timed out like mine did. According to moderator David Bereit 36,187 people were all trying to stream the live event at the same time.
Pro-life leaders participating in the webcast included Kristen Day of Democrats for Life, James Dobson of Focus on the Family (with a pre-recorded message), Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, and Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), but not former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. His absence after originally being included in the list of participants was not explained, although he blogged against universal health care on the same day.
Webcast speakers focused on abortion. "What you probably haven't heard is that the health care bill being advanced by Democrats is the abortion industry's dream come true," said Dobson, who opened the presentation with his pre-recorded statement. He continued:
The health care bill will force taxpayers to fund a huge abortion industry bail-out, even though the majority of Americans oppose abortion. In addition, it will mandate that virtually every American will be coerced into a health plan that covers abortion, and it would require that health care providers that are opposed to abortion violate their own consciences by performing abortions at the risk of losing their own jobs. It will be a disaster for the sanctity of human life and an assault on the moral values of every American who is forced to support the killing of babies.
Pavone said the bill would be "the largest expansion of abortion since Roe vs. Wade" and said that the health care reform bill would "prop up" the "collapsing" abortion industry. Subsequently, Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America and Tom Minnery, the senior vice president of Government and Public Policy at Focus on the Family, both spoke out against the use of "deceptive language" in the bill. Minnery said:
You'll recall that as a candidate, President Obama said he wanted to make abortion very rare. This proposal gives the lie, I'm sorry to say that, but it gives the lie to that statement. Obviously, we all know that what is â€¦ subsidized â€¦ will expand.
Day, speaking for Democrats for Life, struck a hopeful note by reminding listeners of the letter sent last month by 20 pro-life Democrats to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, informing her that they would not support abortion funding in the bill. Day said that she knew of several other members of the Democrat majority-led House who would have signed also, had they not missed the deadline. Day said, "I'm convinced we will pick up enough votes to make sure the health reform bill does not pass if the abortion amendment is not in there."
Although not mentioned in the webcast, Thursday provided another example of Democrats in the House working toward common ground in the abortion debate. Reps. Tim Ryan and Rosa DeLauro, who approach the issue from either side of the pro-choice/pro-life divide, proposed the Preventing Unintended Pregnancies, Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act. The bill provides for an adoption campaign, along with tax incentives for adoption, and increased availability of ultrasound equipment. While groups such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL have signed on to the bill, some pro-life groups protest its funding for contraception and comprehensive sex education.
A 96 minute recording of the event and an "Action Guide" with suggestions for contacting senators and representatives is available at StoptheAbortionMandate.com.