Abortion, Health Care & the Midterms

Politico.com today looks at the way the politics of abortion and the health care reform law are playing out in a number of key congressional races. Several pro-life Democrats provided the key, final votes that pushed the reform bill across the finish line and groups like the Susan B. Anthony List are hoping to make them pay for that vote.

Catholics United and Democrats for Life have both announced plans to make the case that voting for the health care bill was a pro-life vote. Catholics United is committed to raising $500,000 for ads in those districts where the pro-life Dems face stiff challenges. “Catholics and other people of faith are frustrated by the dishonesty of many political operatives who oppose reform of our nation's outdated economic and social policies,” said Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United, in a press release announcing the campaign. Democrats for Life has put up a website with key information and analysis that rebuts some of the more extreme claims made about the abortion provisions of the health care law.

I do not go quite as far as Korzen. I think there are principled reasons for opposing the health care reform law, including concerns about its abortion provisions. Yes, there are some who make dishonest claims, but there are others who preferred a different approach to the issue and their preferences are not necessarily dishonest. I think they are wrong, mind you, but not necessarily dishonest.

That said, the recent brouhaha over the “high-risk” pools and the explicit, no wiggle-room statements from the Obama administration, show that the White House remains committed not only to the letter of the Executive Order banning the use of federal funds for abortion but to its spirit. Groups like the Susan B. Anthony List must at least concede that, in this instance, their fears about the potential for abortion funding in the new law did not pan out. The failure to acknowledge that fact is evidence of dishonesty.

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