I am, or was until today, a member of Democrats for Life of America. To date, they’ve done a good job encouraging Democratic politicians to support programs which help poor mothers keep their child, and care for it after they’re born. But this morning, I received a Facebook message from an employee of Democrats for Life of America. It was a message that opposed health care reform through the use of Republican smear tactics, and it was a message–which if heeded–would deny millions of women access to pre-natal care because previous pregnancies are a pre-existing condition under the current American health care system.
Here was the message I received from an employee of DFLA:
DFLA is concerned that language that would prohibit taxpayer-funded abortions has not been included in the health care reform legislation. If we can convince the Democratic leadership in Congress to keep abortions from being funded in the bill, pro-life Democrats could provide enough "yea" votes to finally pass health care reform.
Our case to the leadership is simple: when the Republicans were in the majority, we Democrats accused the Republican leadership of "muzzling" the minority and not allowing controversial issues to be allowed as Amendments. We are working hard to make sure that the leadership remembers this and we don’t make the same mistakes that contributed to the GOP loss of power.
Today, right now, use this link to contact Speaker Pelosi http://speaker.house.gov/contact/
and respectfully request that she and Rules Committee chairman Louise Slaughter allow an up-or-down vote on Rep. Bart Stupak’s amendment to explicitly ban coverage for elective abortions in the bill.
The Capps amendment does not do the job! See for yourself: http://www.factcheck.org/2009/08/abortion-which-side-is-fabricating/
Without such a vote on an explicit ban, there are consequences for health care reform and the public funding of abortion that we should not have to face.
Here is my response to his message:
I am a pro-life Democrat, however this is enough for me to leave your group. Pro-life means supporting access to health care. Did your group ever bother to point out that previous pregnancies are a pre-existing condition during the health care debate? Did it ever bother to talk about the cancer patients who were denied life saving treatments because they failed to disclose minor health problems–like acne–on their insurance applications? Or the lung disease patient who nearly died at the age of 5 because her parents didn’t want her to be labeled with a pre-existing condition, and therefore avoided taking her to the doctor until it was almost too late? Or the 45,000 Americans who die every year because they do not have insurance, and therefore lack access to medical care?
All of the health care reform bills under consideration would eliminate pre-existing conditions. That is something which is worthy of the support of so-called "pro-life" Democrats.
I am a pro-life Democrat because I believe life is sacred–in and out of the womb. I reject the Republican notion that everyone should be forced to fend for themselves. I believe in that we should help the cancer patients and lung disease patients because it is the morally right thing to do.
Instead, you chose to parrot untrue Republican rhetoric, and oppose a bill which would save millions of lives under false pretenses. The Hyde amendment is untouched by current health care proposals. The use of federal funds to provide abortions is banned under the Hyde amendment. Nobody’s tax dollars are going to be used for abortions under the health care bill. Nobody’s. Period. End of story.
How about actually being pro-life instead of engaging in the same old political grandstanding?
Updated with their response:
"DFLA shares your concern on the need for health care reform 100%; several items from our 95-10 Initiative would be taken care of under the reform, such as pre-existing conditions.
However, our board, guided by our advisors among the 40-or-so pro-life Democratic congressmen concerned about the current bill, doesn’t share your reading of its current language. Neither is the Hyde amendment in full play due to the existing language. I have attached several links so that you can see some of what we see (also see the link in the original action alert):
President Obama called on us all to seek common ground and to work in a bipartisan way to reduce abortions. One very simply way for our Party to demonstrate its good faith in these matters is to allow a vote on the Stupak amendment. That was all the action alert asked for.
We share your well-expressed desire for reform. But our board and most of our members do see federal-funded health care that threatens the preborn as a dangerously slippery slope.
I hope at least this helps you understand our organization’s legitimate concerns."
And my response to their response:
Your concerns are not legitimate though. It’s political grandstanding at its worst.
There are 5 pages in the Finance Bill banning the use of taxpayer funds on abortions.
What the government cannot stop is the use of private premium dollars to pay for abortion services if the abortion services are written as a "needed medical procedure" by a licensed doctor. And, as you probably know but refuse to admit, the reason they cannot stop that is because Roe v. Wade (the third worst Supreme Court decision of all time) is still precedent. I’m all for overturning Roe. But trying to do that by opposing health care reform is just wrong.
I’ve appreciated DFLA in the past because they actually looked at the nuances of the abortion issue, and not blindly followed the Republicans off of the cliff of irrationality. It’s a shame that changed.
PS–Your whole approach is flawed. You’re opposing something that would save 45,000 lives a year because something like 2,000 additional abortions per year might happen. I’m all for preventing the latter from happening. But you don’t do that by opposing the former.