Monday, March 15, 2010

Abortion and the Healthcare Debate

In the last few days the Democrats have made through on their promise to do "whatever it takes" to pass healthcare. They were willing to start an ethics investigation into and drive out a member of their own party who opposed healthcare, and now seem willing to make a possibly unconstitutional rules change to get it through as well.

The backdrop of this Democrat desperation is that all they have to do is pass a bill through a legislative body (The House of Representatives) in which they have a 40 vote majority. If that were such a good and important bill this wouldn't be that hard.

With an impending vote it seems the one person who is doing the most to stand up for the unborn, and get Democrats to vote against the bill is Bart Stupak. Since the current bill does not include the Stupak Amendment, Bart Stupak and a group of 6-12 other Democrats who voted yes last time have committed to vote no on the bill. Confident that he had the votes to stop the bill, Rep. Stupak announced it was dead on arrival when it was first announced that Nancy Pelosi was trying to pass the Senate version of the Healthcare bill.

Since then Rep. Stupak has tried to get the House leadership to include his amendment on this version of the bill. However the leadership is ignoring him and is working to pass the bill without fixing the abortion language. The Democrat laeadership seems ready to ignore the concerns of its pro-life members, and doesn't seem to care about protecting human life.

If Obamacare passes, Stupak says, it could signal the end of any meaningful role for pro-life Democrats within their own party. “It would be very, very hard for someone who is a right-to-life Democrat to run for office,” he says. “I won’t leave the party. I’m more comfortable here and still believe in a role within it for the right-to-life cause, but this bill will make being a pro-life Democrat much more difficult. They don’t even want to debate this issue. We’ll probably have to wait until the Republicans take back the majority to fix this.”

“Throughout this debate, even when the House leaders have acknowledged us, it’s always been in a backhanded way,” he laments. “I’m telling the others to hold firm, and we’ll meet next week, but I’m disappointed in my colleagues who said they’d be with us and now they’re not. It’s almost like some right-to-life members don’t want to be bothered. They just want this over.”

Sadly we have hardly heard a peep about the abortion aspect of the healthcare bill from the Republican leadership recently. There has been a lot of talk about mandates, medicare, and costs (which are all very important), but by ignoring the abortion aspect they are leaving a very important argument against the bill off the table. Hopefully this is not a signal on how the Republicans plan to campaign this year, because if they ignore the abortion issue they will be hurt this fall. Pro-lifers are important activists and voters who will work hard for whoever they believe will protect the unborn, and they should not be ignored by the GOP during this election cycle.

It will be interesting to see how the next couple days turn out. There is currently a vote scheduled for Thursday. However many including the Democrat House Whip say the votes are not there yet. It also appears the Slaughter Rule is not off the table yet.

For an updated whipcount check this out, and please contact your congressman to urge them to vote no.

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