Hecklers tried to shout down Sen. Bob Casey the other day while he spoke at the State Capitol in Harrisburg. The protesters belonged to the group Insurrecta Nex, originally known as Operation Rescue. They shouted that Casey was not pro-life.
Sen. Casey now joins a very privileged club of lifelong pro-life Catholics who have been attacked as modern day Judas Iscariots because they are not quite pro-life enough to satisfy the zealots. Ambassador Doug Kmiec, who years of legal advocacy for the unborn needs no elaboration by me, continues to be called a scoundrel or worse because he endorsed Barack Obama in last year’s presidential campaign. Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston was the target of nasty attacks for presiding at the funeral of Sen. Edward Kennedy: Judy Brown of the American Life League said the cardinal’s presence amounted to standing by while Christ was spit upon. This is the group Casey now joins. Ask yourself: If you walked into a room and Kmiec, O’Malley and Casey were at one end, and Judy Brown and Randall Terry were at the other, which side of the room would you rather be on?
The heckling of Casey is especially pernicious because in the past few months he has been at the center of efforts to strengthen the health care bill to make it more pro-life. That wasn’t Judy Brown in there negotiating for stricter conscience protections for Catholic workers and hospitals. That wasn’t Randall Terry eliminating the requirement that at least one plan in every exchange offer abortion coverage and strengthening the accounting procedures at the state level to make sure that federal funds do not go to fund abortion. What have these noisy pro-life protesters actually achieved compared to what Sen. Casey has achieved for the unborn?
Some argue that once the Stupak amendment failed in the Senate, pro-life legislators should have renounced the entire health care effort. That is not what good legislators do. Good legislators stay at the table, trying to improve a bill, especially a bill that includes so many provisions to help pregnant women facing crisis pregnancies, to say nothing of securing health insurance for millions of Americans. Casey is to be commended for his work, not shouted down. His efforts to persuade are more effective in advancing the pro-life cause than the hysterical shouts of Insurrecta Nex.