The political weakness of the pro-abortionists

President Obama’s executive order preventing federal money from paying for abortions in the new national health care system may not be much of a safeguard. But it’s surely significant that pro-lifers had the political clout to get one, while the pro-abortionists, despite a huge majority in the Democratic party, couldn’t stop it.

POLITICO columnist Ben Smith says that this demonstrates how politically weak the pro-abortion activists have become: “The battle exposed the profound weakness of the abortion rights movement, which — though often assumed to be identical with the Democratic Party — still simply doesn’t have the votes.”

Meanwhile, the pro-life movement is turning against Rep. Bart Stupak for seemingly caving on the issue, but the pro-abortionists are frantic and furious.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Dan Kempin

    “seemingly” caving?

  • Dan Kempin

    “seemingly” caving?

  • J

    In the ‘twilight zone’ known as the ‘religious right,’ it makes perfect sense that ‘pro-abortionists are frantic and furious’ over an executive order that yesterday the right assured us was worthless. Moreover, ‘pro-abortionists’ always erupt in anger when Congress passes health care legislation that the right assures us funds abortions. Like Veith says, ‘this demonstrates how politically weak the pro-abortionists have become.’ Hmmm.
    The truth is, the legislation, bolstered by the executive order, emphatically prevents abortion funding. Indeed, its passage will result in fewer abortions by extending access to health care to more Americans. Many ‘pro life’ Americans see this clearly and have said so. But their voices are often drowned out by GOP-driven fanactics who are so stupid that they can’t realize how great a boon this legislation and executive order are to life.
    Are there any greater friends to the abortion industry than the dolts who will make Stupak pay for his vote?

  • J

    In the ‘twilight zone’ known as the ‘religious right,’ it makes perfect sense that ‘pro-abortionists are frantic and furious’ over an executive order that yesterday the right assured us was worthless. Moreover, ‘pro-abortionists’ always erupt in anger when Congress passes health care legislation that the right assures us funds abortions. Like Veith says, ‘this demonstrates how politically weak the pro-abortionists have become.’ Hmmm.
    The truth is, the legislation, bolstered by the executive order, emphatically prevents abortion funding. Indeed, its passage will result in fewer abortions by extending access to health care to more Americans. Many ‘pro life’ Americans see this clearly and have said so. But their voices are often drowned out by GOP-driven fanactics who are so stupid that they can’t realize how great a boon this legislation and executive order are to life.
    Are there any greater friends to the abortion industry than the dolts who will make Stupak pay for his vote?

  • DonS

    Of course, J conveniently ignores the fact that the pro-abortion Senate decisively voted down the genuinely pro-life Stupak amendment passed in the original House bill. Why do you think they were so willing to accept the Nelson language in lieu of the original Stupak language, J?

    No, the reality is that NARAL wants required government funding for abortion and is mad that even a strikingly Democratic Congress wasn’t willing or able to go that far as to expressly provide for it.

  • DonS

    Of course, J conveniently ignores the fact that the pro-abortion Senate decisively voted down the genuinely pro-life Stupak amendment passed in the original House bill. Why do you think they were so willing to accept the Nelson language in lieu of the original Stupak language, J?

    No, the reality is that NARAL wants required government funding for abortion and is mad that even a strikingly Democratic Congress wasn’t willing or able to go that far as to expressly provide for it.

  • J

    @3 Your stated interest in halting health care reform is, what it is always is with you, money. But even if your concern about abortion funding was genuine, I repeat that the legislation and order ensure that no federal funds will be used to pay for abortions.
    Even you concede that NARAL “is mad.” Funds to pay for abortion were not provided for, indeed could not be, without repealing Hyde.
    This legislation is a great pro-life victory. Those who say otherwise are far more interested in stopping health care reform, and should honestly say so.

  • J

    @3 Your stated interest in halting health care reform is, what it is always is with you, money. But even if your concern about abortion funding was genuine, I repeat that the legislation and order ensure that no federal funds will be used to pay for abortions.
    Even you concede that NARAL “is mad.” Funds to pay for abortion were not provided for, indeed could not be, without repealing Hyde.
    This legislation is a great pro-life victory. Those who say otherwise are far more interested in stopping health care reform, and should honestly say so.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    The executive order comes from a man who is becoming notorious for backtracking. It isn’t worth the paper it is written on. Two, this so called extension of health care benefits is not going to curb abortions. It is a misnomer that a great number of people have them for financial reasons btw abortions are expensive. The people I have worked with had abortions for one of two reasons, rape or the baby was inconvenient, and these were people from good levels of income. I actually found those with little income were more likely to keep the child, they just tended to neglect prenatal care.

    If people want to make birth less expensive legalize planned home-births with midwives. Birth is cheaper when you take out the cost of hospitals.

    The only thing this passing of this bill is a victory for is the increased centralized control of our lives and the abrogation of our personal freedoms of choice.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    The executive order comes from a man who is becoming notorious for backtracking. It isn’t worth the paper it is written on. Two, this so called extension of health care benefits is not going to curb abortions. It is a misnomer that a great number of people have them for financial reasons btw abortions are expensive. The people I have worked with had abortions for one of two reasons, rape or the baby was inconvenient, and these were people from good levels of income. I actually found those with little income were more likely to keep the child, they just tended to neglect prenatal care.

    If people want to make birth less expensive legalize planned home-births with midwives. Birth is cheaper when you take out the cost of hospitals.

    The only thing this passing of this bill is a victory for is the increased centralized control of our lives and the abrogation of our personal freedoms of choice.

  • Sam

    “The only thing this passing of this bill is a victory for is … the abrogations of our personal freedoms of choice.” – Dr. Luther

    “…people do not ‘celebrate’ the freedom to not be able to afford lifesaving medical care. They don’t want the freedom to weigh whether to pay rent or take their feverish child to the emergency room. They don’t like the freedom to lose their job and then be told by insurers that they’re ineligible for coverage because they were born with a heart arrhythmia.” – Ezra Klein, Wash Post

  • Sam

    “The only thing this passing of this bill is a victory for is … the abrogations of our personal freedoms of choice.” – Dr. Luther

    “…people do not ‘celebrate’ the freedom to not be able to afford lifesaving medical care. They don’t want the freedom to weigh whether to pay rent or take their feverish child to the emergency room. They don’t like the freedom to lose their job and then be told by insurers that they’re ineligible for coverage because they were born with a heart arrhythmia.” – Ezra Klein, Wash Post

  • DonS

    J @ 4: I never denied that my fundamental interest in this health care matter is to see that the government does not saddle itself with yet another unaffordable, bureaucratic, entitlement program. It’s not just about money, but money is a part of it, for the simple reason that the government has no money of its own, but rather only that which it coercively takes from the citizens. By establishing entitlement programs guaranteeing benefits based on fixed criteria, forever, it is committing not just our money, in the current budget year, but our childrens’ and grandchildrens’ money for decades to come. That is the height of arrogance and unfair to our future generations, who should be able to decide for themselves how best to spend their money, rather than being saddled with paying off our selfish debts and our prior commitments. You are quick to accuse me of greed or whatnot, by insinuating that all I care about are finances, but, really, that is all you and other liberals care about as well. It’s all about money, on both sides, when it comes to government programs. Essentially, the question is whether the individual who earns the money is entitled to it, or is the government entitled to take that money and re-distribute it, inefficiently through a huge bureaucratic structure, to its favored recipients.

    However, beyond the financial aspects, there is the issue of liberty. Whenever you choose government as your service provider, you choose a regulatory environment that operates coercively, rather than voluntarily. In the private sector, if you don’t like something, you go somewhere else. When the government is your provider, if you don’t like something, too bad. When Medicare or Medicaid denies coverage, there are no real options for getting that decision overturned. If you disobey a regulation, you pay a fine or go to jail. We used to prize individual liberty in this country. Now, we punish innovation and success, and enable dependent behavior. What you incentivize, you get more of.

    Additionally, there is the abortion issue. You have stunningly pro-abortion politicians crafting these bills, so you know they are not doing so with care for the pro-life position. You don’t trust Nancy Pelosi, with her 100% favorable NARAL rating, without close scrutiny and verification. And we know, with certitude, that Nancy Pelosi would not be all smiles about your so-called “great pro-life victory”.

  • DonS

    J @ 4: I never denied that my fundamental interest in this health care matter is to see that the government does not saddle itself with yet another unaffordable, bureaucratic, entitlement program. It’s not just about money, but money is a part of it, for the simple reason that the government has no money of its own, but rather only that which it coercively takes from the citizens. By establishing entitlement programs guaranteeing benefits based on fixed criteria, forever, it is committing not just our money, in the current budget year, but our childrens’ and grandchildrens’ money for decades to come. That is the height of arrogance and unfair to our future generations, who should be able to decide for themselves how best to spend their money, rather than being saddled with paying off our selfish debts and our prior commitments. You are quick to accuse me of greed or whatnot, by insinuating that all I care about are finances, but, really, that is all you and other liberals care about as well. It’s all about money, on both sides, when it comes to government programs. Essentially, the question is whether the individual who earns the money is entitled to it, or is the government entitled to take that money and re-distribute it, inefficiently through a huge bureaucratic structure, to its favored recipients.

    However, beyond the financial aspects, there is the issue of liberty. Whenever you choose government as your service provider, you choose a regulatory environment that operates coercively, rather than voluntarily. In the private sector, if you don’t like something, you go somewhere else. When the government is your provider, if you don’t like something, too bad. When Medicare or Medicaid denies coverage, there are no real options for getting that decision overturned. If you disobey a regulation, you pay a fine or go to jail. We used to prize individual liberty in this country. Now, we punish innovation and success, and enable dependent behavior. What you incentivize, you get more of.

    Additionally, there is the abortion issue. You have stunningly pro-abortion politicians crafting these bills, so you know they are not doing so with care for the pro-life position. You don’t trust Nancy Pelosi, with her 100% favorable NARAL rating, without close scrutiny and verification. And we know, with certitude, that Nancy Pelosi would not be all smiles about your so-called “great pro-life victory”.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Yuval Levin remarks that all NARAL needs to do is sponsor someone who wants an abortion at a Community Health Center funded by ObamaCare. When the CHC initially refuses to fund the abortion on the grounds of the executive order, NARAL will sue on the ground that the law trumps an executive order; given that the law governing CHCs lacks a specific ban on abortion Naral would likely win the case.

    For a good summary of this issue go to Three Different Provisions to Fund Abortions in Obama’s Health Care Plan
    including:

    The National Right to Life Committee notes that Obama’s plan would provide $11 billion dollars for community health centers–$4 billion more than the original Senate bill–and there is no language preventing these funds from paying for abortions.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Yuval Levin remarks that all NARAL needs to do is sponsor someone who wants an abortion at a Community Health Center funded by ObamaCare. When the CHC initially refuses to fund the abortion on the grounds of the executive order, NARAL will sue on the ground that the law trumps an executive order; given that the law governing CHCs lacks a specific ban on abortion Naral would likely win the case.

    For a good summary of this issue go to Three Different Provisions to Fund Abortions in Obama’s Health Care Plan
    including:

    The National Right to Life Committee notes that Obama’s plan would provide $11 billion dollars for community health centers–$4 billion more than the original Senate bill–and there is no language preventing these funds from paying for abortions.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @sam #6
    “…people do not ‘celebrate’ the freedom to not be able to afford lifesaving medical care. They don’t want the freedom to weigh whether to pay rent or take their feverish child to the emergency room. They don’t like the freedom to lose their job and then be told by insurers that they’re ineligible for coverage because they were born with a heart arrhythmia.” – Ezra Klein, Wash Post

    Oh don’t try the lame sentimental response. While I sympathize with people who have to make those choices, I was there not too long ago myself. I don’t mind helping those people out through non-governmental sources, but I would still rather have the right to make that choice than to have a Washington political hack making my choices for me. It isn’t happening now, but give it ten years, we will see more and more strings attached to this ‘guaranteed’ insurance.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @sam #6
    “…people do not ‘celebrate’ the freedom to not be able to afford lifesaving medical care. They don’t want the freedom to weigh whether to pay rent or take their feverish child to the emergency room. They don’t like the freedom to lose their job and then be told by insurers that they’re ineligible for coverage because they were born with a heart arrhythmia.” – Ezra Klein, Wash Post

    Oh don’t try the lame sentimental response. While I sympathize with people who have to make those choices, I was there not too long ago myself. I don’t mind helping those people out through non-governmental sources, but I would still rather have the right to make that choice than to have a Washington political hack making my choices for me. It isn’t happening now, but give it ten years, we will see more and more strings attached to this ‘guaranteed’ insurance.

  • J

    http://commonwealmagazine.org/crying-wolf

    “[C]ritics point out that the bill departs from the Hyde Amendment’s ban on federal support for any health plan that covers elective abortion. They insist this is the only conceivable way for the government to subsidize insurance without paying for abortion. This is false, as the Senate bill itself clearly demonstrates. Under the bill, anyone who buys a plan that covers elective abortion would have to pay a separate, unsubsidized premium for that coverage. Such premiums would be segregated from premiums for all other services in a special account, which would have to cover the full cost of elective abortions and couldn’t receive a penny from the government. In other words, the bill would preserve the Hyde Amendment’s principle without applying its method.

    Critics also claim that the money the bill appropriates for community health centers is not subject to the Hyde Amendment. No doubt the bill would be strengthened with the addition of language that clearly imposes the Hyde rule on any federal money given to health centers. But since such money will in any case be channeled through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where the Hyde Amendment obtains, there is no good reason to suppose that it will be exempt from the amendment’s constraints. Besides, if HHS really could spend any part of the new funding on elective abortions, it wouldn’t matter that the Hyde Amendment keeps it from using the rest of its money for this purpose: as the bill’s critics never tire of telling us, money is fungible—the Hyde Amendment works only if it covers everything HHS spends. It’s also worth mentioning that none of the existing health centers, which provide care to one in eight children born in the United States, has ever offered abortion services.

    Many of the bill’s most prominent critics are lobbyists, and for the purposes of lobbying, a plausible falsehood is often as useful as the truth. But crying wolf is always a dangerous game. If prolife groups raise false alarms to bully politicians and scare up donations, they risk being ignored when a real threat arises.

  • J

    http://commonwealmagazine.org/crying-wolf

    “[C]ritics point out that the bill departs from the Hyde Amendment’s ban on federal support for any health plan that covers elective abortion. They insist this is the only conceivable way for the government to subsidize insurance without paying for abortion. This is false, as the Senate bill itself clearly demonstrates. Under the bill, anyone who buys a plan that covers elective abortion would have to pay a separate, unsubsidized premium for that coverage. Such premiums would be segregated from premiums for all other services in a special account, which would have to cover the full cost of elective abortions and couldn’t receive a penny from the government. In other words, the bill would preserve the Hyde Amendment’s principle without applying its method.

    Critics also claim that the money the bill appropriates for community health centers is not subject to the Hyde Amendment. No doubt the bill would be strengthened with the addition of language that clearly imposes the Hyde rule on any federal money given to health centers. But since such money will in any case be channeled through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where the Hyde Amendment obtains, there is no good reason to suppose that it will be exempt from the amendment’s constraints. Besides, if HHS really could spend any part of the new funding on elective abortions, it wouldn’t matter that the Hyde Amendment keeps it from using the rest of its money for this purpose: as the bill’s critics never tire of telling us, money is fungible—the Hyde Amendment works only if it covers everything HHS spends. It’s also worth mentioning that none of the existing health centers, which provide care to one in eight children born in the United States, has ever offered abortion services.

    Many of the bill’s most prominent critics are lobbyists, and for the purposes of lobbying, a plausible falsehood is often as useful as the truth. But crying wolf is always a dangerous game. If prolife groups raise false alarms to bully politicians and scare up donations, they risk being ignored when a real threat arises.

  • kerner

    The reason the pro-aborts have less political clout than they used to is that the pro-life movement is winning the PR war. Abortion is becoming similar to smoking tobacco: legal, but socially unacceptable. Pro-lifer’s have been driven to this by Roe v. Wade. We COULDN’T make abortion illegal, so making it socially unacceptable was the only present alternative.

    The good news is that once something becomes sufficiently socially unacceptable, it is a lot easier to make it illegal too. May that day come quickly for abortion.

  • kerner

    The reason the pro-aborts have less political clout than they used to is that the pro-life movement is winning the PR war. Abortion is becoming similar to smoking tobacco: legal, but socially unacceptable. Pro-lifer’s have been driven to this by Roe v. Wade. We COULDN’T make abortion illegal, so making it socially unacceptable was the only present alternative.

    The good news is that once something becomes sufficiently socially unacceptable, it is a lot easier to make it illegal too. May that day come quickly for abortion.

  • Dan Kempin

    Sam, #6,

    That Ezra Kline quote is both shameful and illustrative. It reveals, first, the strategy of de-defining words. Opponents of this bill have cried, quite reasonably, that it encroaches freedom. “Freedom” is then used in this response in a way that has nothing to do with “freedom.” It is used instead to describe poverty and hardship with the intent of blurring the word in order to blunt the argument. It is a deceptive and devious retort that does not answer the argument.

    In the deeper sense, though, it reveals the deep and fundamental flaw of socialism, namely the arrogance to think that someone or some entity is able to make life “fair.”

    Say, to use Mr. Klein’s instance, that your child is feverish and you don’t have the money to pay for care. That is sad. That is tragic. That is not “fair.” It is also not the fault of the emergency room. It is not the fault of the government, and neither of them have the ability to wave a magic wand and make it “right.” There are feverish children all over the world who do not have access to an emergency room. (There are children, for that matter, who have the finest health care and still die.) There are millions of people in poverty. There is suffering beyond our comprehension. Do you have the power to fix it? Can you make it right? This is the realm of God. It is, quite literally, beyond us. Jesus himself said that poverty would endure in this world. Nevertheless, there seems to be a perpetual sense that THIS time it will work. THIS time we can fix it ourselves. THIS social program will solve the problem of X, and even though it has been tried umpteen times, THIS version of the idea will finally do it. This is, at its root, a godless presumption.

    That is not to say that we should not do what we can. We should. But it must be done with the recognition that our resources–personally and as a government–are limited. We are not God and we should not try to be.

  • Dan Kempin

    Sam, #6,

    That Ezra Kline quote is both shameful and illustrative. It reveals, first, the strategy of de-defining words. Opponents of this bill have cried, quite reasonably, that it encroaches freedom. “Freedom” is then used in this response in a way that has nothing to do with “freedom.” It is used instead to describe poverty and hardship with the intent of blurring the word in order to blunt the argument. It is a deceptive and devious retort that does not answer the argument.

    In the deeper sense, though, it reveals the deep and fundamental flaw of socialism, namely the arrogance to think that someone or some entity is able to make life “fair.”

    Say, to use Mr. Klein’s instance, that your child is feverish and you don’t have the money to pay for care. That is sad. That is tragic. That is not “fair.” It is also not the fault of the emergency room. It is not the fault of the government, and neither of them have the ability to wave a magic wand and make it “right.” There are feverish children all over the world who do not have access to an emergency room. (There are children, for that matter, who have the finest health care and still die.) There are millions of people in poverty. There is suffering beyond our comprehension. Do you have the power to fix it? Can you make it right? This is the realm of God. It is, quite literally, beyond us. Jesus himself said that poverty would endure in this world. Nevertheless, there seems to be a perpetual sense that THIS time it will work. THIS time we can fix it ourselves. THIS social program will solve the problem of X, and even though it has been tried umpteen times, THIS version of the idea will finally do it. This is, at its root, a godless presumption.

    That is not to say that we should not do what we can. We should. But it must be done with the recognition that our resources–personally and as a government–are limited. We are not God and we should not try to be.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Excellent, Dan.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Excellent, Dan.

  • Reg Schofield

    If a feverish child cannot get go a ER because of financial restrictions in America is indeed tragic .That it can happen in the richest country in the world is sadder still . We are not God is true, and any bill that promotes state run health care or one that has private insurance will be flawed, because we are sinners but the scriptures are very clear also telling us if you are a believer, and do not do as much as you can to elevate suffering , then your faith is worthless.
    Living in Canada with a health care plan that is flawed and need of changes no question , I know without it I would have been financially ruined with my wife’s cancer and youngest sons diabetes .
    Is there a right or wrong delivery system of health care , I don’t think so . Is the Obamacare plan the best for America , I can’t answer that and I think the fanatics on both sides suffer from verbal diarrhea.

  • Reg Schofield

    If a feverish child cannot get go a ER because of financial restrictions in America is indeed tragic .That it can happen in the richest country in the world is sadder still . We are not God is true, and any bill that promotes state run health care or one that has private insurance will be flawed, because we are sinners but the scriptures are very clear also telling us if you are a believer, and do not do as much as you can to elevate suffering , then your faith is worthless.
    Living in Canada with a health care plan that is flawed and need of changes no question , I know without it I would have been financially ruined with my wife’s cancer and youngest sons diabetes .
    Is there a right or wrong delivery system of health care , I don’t think so . Is the Obamacare plan the best for America , I can’t answer that and I think the fanatics on both sides suffer from verbal diarrhea.

  • Dan Kempin

    Reg, #14, (I assume you are responding to me.)

    “If a feverish child cannot get go a ER because of financial restrictions in America is indeed tragic.”

    Indeed it would be, if it were true. Anyone with a feverish child can go to the emergency room for treatment in America. (Canada too, as far as I know.) That’s part of the reason I found Ezra Kline’s false characterization so distasteful.

    I agree with your perspective, though, that Christians are obligated to be involved in helping those in need. (I don’t recall the scripture saying that we are to alleviate suffering, but I grant the point.) Christians have historically been dedicated to helping the poor, teaching the children, and building and running hospitals. I agree with that completely and think that we should be calling Christians to action.

    I do NOT accept that a government program is an acceptable substitute for this neighborly love. Government health care is (for a Christian) a cop out. Or, if you prefer, they are two different things. Every Christian has an obligation. Supporting government health care does not fulfill that obligation, even as opposing it does not break our obligation. People can honestly disagree on the best way of striving for the same goal.

    Personally, I am convinced that putting health care in the hands of a non-Christian government will make it worse, not better. I, too, would have been financially ruined by a situation within my own family, and I give thanks for the private insurance company that provided our coverage. It is in vogue at the moment to characterize insurance companies as evil, but I owe them my gratitude. The system they set up, while somewhat clunky and certainly expensive, did what it was intended to do. It prevented financial disaster and provided excellent care for my family member.

    So, you see, I don’t disagree with the goal, but the government is not the only answer.

  • Dan Kempin

    Reg, #14, (I assume you are responding to me.)

    “If a feverish child cannot get go a ER because of financial restrictions in America is indeed tragic.”

    Indeed it would be, if it were true. Anyone with a feverish child can go to the emergency room for treatment in America. (Canada too, as far as I know.) That’s part of the reason I found Ezra Kline’s false characterization so distasteful.

    I agree with your perspective, though, that Christians are obligated to be involved in helping those in need. (I don’t recall the scripture saying that we are to alleviate suffering, but I grant the point.) Christians have historically been dedicated to helping the poor, teaching the children, and building and running hospitals. I agree with that completely and think that we should be calling Christians to action.

    I do NOT accept that a government program is an acceptable substitute for this neighborly love. Government health care is (for a Christian) a cop out. Or, if you prefer, they are two different things. Every Christian has an obligation. Supporting government health care does not fulfill that obligation, even as opposing it does not break our obligation. People can honestly disagree on the best way of striving for the same goal.

    Personally, I am convinced that putting health care in the hands of a non-Christian government will make it worse, not better. I, too, would have been financially ruined by a situation within my own family, and I give thanks for the private insurance company that provided our coverage. It is in vogue at the moment to characterize insurance companies as evil, but I owe them my gratitude. The system they set up, while somewhat clunky and certainly expensive, did what it was intended to do. It prevented financial disaster and provided excellent care for my family member.

    So, you see, I don’t disagree with the goal, but the government is not the only answer.

  • DonS

    Dan @ 15: Well said.

  • DonS

    Dan @ 15: Well said.


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