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Battle for Washington: Pro-Life Coalition Giving Last Full Measure on Health Care


Peter J. Smith


WASHINGTON, D.C., March 16, 2010 ( –

With what may be the final onslaught of the health care bill coming this weekend, pro-life advocates are giving the last full measure in a battle to defeat the legislation, which would allow federal dollars to subsidize abortion coverage and Planned Parenthood to tap into billions of dollars set aside for community health providers. The latest vote predictions say passage of President Barack Obama’s health care reform is too close to call, and pro-life advocates have put their utmost into working – and praying – to hold together a bipartisan pro-life coalition against health care reform in the House of Representatives. The effort itself could become their finest hour in the health care saga. Americans United for Life has unrolled an aggressive “Life Counts” campaign targeting approximately 40-41 Democrats - whose votes together will be critical to defeating ObamaCare - through print ads, text messages, live phone calls, email-blasts, and the Internet.

Congressmen on Capitol Hill are expected to vote on health care reform before Obama leaves for Indonesia on Sunday, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) are pushing representatives hard to line up behind a vote for the Senate health care bill.

“There’s a lot of pressure on these folks here in Washington,” said AUL’s Vice President for Communications, Matthew Faraci.

“The only voice that is equal to what they are hearing here in Washington is their constituents back home. Their constituents back home are against this bill, and they don’t want to see taxpayer funding for abortion, so we are reaching directly to those constituents.”

Faraci said that pro-life advocates have “got to go to the district office” in order to have the most influence of their Congressman.

“That is what it is all about,” he told LSN, relating his own experience on Capitol Hill. “I think it is valid to send an email, make a phone call, send a fax, all those things I think are very good, but none of those things has the impact of a personal visit.”

The district office director, Faraci explained, will call and report to a member of Congress the number of constituents that made personal visits to his office. The fact that an individual took the time to show up, Faraci said, shows that he feels “very, very strongly” about the issue, and reminds a Congressman that constituents like that could put him out of a job come November. The National Right to Life Committee emphasized in a recent action alert that timing is of the essence to Pelosi, who is trying to force a vote by this weekend. “Most political observers agree that if Speaker Pelosi does not succeed in ramming the Senate bill through the House by the time Congress goes into recess for Easter on March 26, the bill is effectively dead," stated NRLC. "Whether she succeeds or not depends on what House members hear from their constituents during the next two weeks."

AUL has launched print ads running in the newspapers of Congressmen’s home districts, featuring a picture of two hands cradling a baby, and addressing the specific Congressman to say: “When it comes to voting for health reform, we know you have your hands full.”
The ad informs readers, “The health care bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives prevents taxpayer-funded abortion. The U.S. Senate health care bill — on the other hand — does allow your tax dollars to pay for abortion. Those are stark differences with serious consequences.” The first salvo of ads targets the districts of House Representatives Jerry F. Costello (D- Illinois); Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana), Baron P. Hill (D-Indiana), Marcy Kaptur of (D-Ohio), Charles Wilson (D-Ohio), Earl Pomeroy (D-North Dakota), Alan B. Mollohan (D-West Virginia), Nick Rahall of (D-West Virginia). Susan B. Anthony List has also entered the fray, revealing poll data from 19 key Democratic districts that show their voters are strongly opposed – between 60 to 80 percent – to any federal subsidies that would fund abortion. The polls also showed that between 45 – 65 percent of voters in their respective districts would be “less likely” to vote for them, if health care legislation passed that allowed federal dollars to end up subsidizing abortions.

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, also issued an urgent fax alert to priests and deacons nationwide on Monday urging them to join with Catholic parishioners in contacting their Congressmen to express opposition to the health care bill.

"The lives of millions of unborn children depend on all of us taking action now," said Fr. Pavone.

"The Senate version of the health care bill would expand access to abortion like never before in history. With a decisive vote possible this week in the House, there is no time to waste."
Read The Hill for the latest projected health care whip count.


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