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Will Left Wing Catholics Treat Stupak Like Uriah the Hittite?

Catholic Vote Action 24 February 2010 No Comment

Obama health reform is back, and Catholics have one more chance to prove what is more important to them: being pro-life or being pro-Democratic party.

As CVA explained earlier today, Catholic principles leave only one choice on this issue.  The President’s health reform plan, in violation of his promise, funds abortion insurance.  The US Bishops have forecully directed us that even their decades of support for health reform is decisively trumped by the extremely grave evil of public funding of abortion insurance, and they have told us that such plans must be “vigorously opposed.”

Legal abortion is bad enough.  But it is beyond abominable for the bohemoth federal government to positively fund abortion insurance, to bureaucratize abortion into political cement as a core medical function, to give coverage to hundreds of thousands of women whom Planned Parenthood agrees don’t currently commit abortions just because they don’t have coverage for it, and to pave the way to force all doctors and hospitals to participate in abortion.

Obama claims to want to reach out to Republicans.  But Democrat Bart Stupak’s amendment banning federal funding of abortion insurance drew over 60 Democrat votes in the House and the support of the USCCB.  Stupak continues to stand strong.  Yet Obama has rejected Stupak; indeed, he has fought Stupak’s proposal avidly.

Similarly, liberal Catholics claim to be pro-life.  Even more, they claim that their support for Obama and his party will reduce abortion.  This claim has been proven ridiculous many times over: when Obama gave away free federally-funded abortions in DC, when he gave away federal funds to abortion organizations overseas, when he placed abortion enthusiasists throughout his administration, and on and on.

So now liberal Catholics have another chance to prove that their love of partisan power is not more important to them than the commitment they claim to have for our unborn brothers and sisters, who are part of the human family that liberals are supposed to want to make expansive and inclusive.

Initial signs from leading liberal Catholics are not good.  At America Magazine’s blog, Michael Sean Winters promised in July that he would actively oppose any Democrat including Obama who set up an accounting scheme to federally fund abortion insurance.  Yet Winters now supports Obama doing exactly that, while thumbing his nose at the USCCB.

Winters draws irrelevant distinctions to justify supporting Obama’s abortion insurance funding.  Whereas Stupak flatly bans the funding, Obama explicitly allows funding of insurance that covers abortion.  Stupak’s plan would not federally fund any abortion insurance for any woman who currently doesn’t have it, but Obama’s plan would massively increase abortion by making subsidized abortion insurance available to every one of those women.  Stupak’s plan would prohibit any insurance plan that receives federal funds from covering abortion, but Obama would explicitly fund it, and would create a federal compulsion that other members of the plan pay for abortion coverage.

Winters misleadingly claims that Stupak and Obama both “envision” abortion riders.  But Stupak explicitly prohibits any federal funding connection with riders, and the riders need not even exist; Obama explicitly funds the insurance with abortion coverage, giving abortion access to the poor and making every plan member foot the bill.  Stupak says creates a chasm between any federal funding and such riders, while Obama institutionalizes abortion riders and cozies federal dollars up to them.

Obama’s plan would also take the 32 states where pro-lifers have suceeded in passing laws to prevent government involvement in abortion insurance, and destroy that status quo by forcing all those states to administer abortion insurance in the exchange unless they can pass new laws, a massive windfall for Planned Parenthood which sets abortion reduction policy back 30 years.  And whereas Winters once agreed that federal funding of abortion insurance isn’t justified merely by pretending to segregate the money, Winters now praises the accounting scheme method.

Oh, and did I mention that Obama’s plan allows complete destruction of any remainingconscience rights of pro-life doctors, by failing to prohibit government entities and programs from committing conscience violations?  That doesn’t even register on Winters’ progressive radar.

Catholic Obama supporters told us in 2008 that they wanted a movement of pro-life Democrats.  Lo and behold, one finally arose, led by Bart Stupak and the USCCB.  It actually stood on pro-life principle, it actually had influence, and it actually succeeded in removing abortion funding from health reform in the House.

But the liberal Catholic response was to abandon Stupak.  The position of Stupak and the USCCB is, and has to be, an ultimatum:  yes to abortion-free health reform, but NO to free-abortions health reform.  No pro-life Catholic could support federally funded abortion insurance, just because he wanted health reform.  Massively expanding abortion is worse than no “reform.”  Otherwise the Church could not teach that abortion is afoundational issue.  Taking a stand means taking a stand, not saying “please don’t fund abortion but I’ll capitulate even if you do.”

So being a pro-life Democrat requires standing with Stupak: no reform if no pro-life amendment.  Liberal Catholics such as Winters, Catholics United, and prominent pundits at Commonweal and Vox Nova, fled from the nascent pro-life Democrat movement, and even joined in the Democratic majority’s and Obama’s plans to crush them by passing the bill against the Stupak coalition.

If liberal Catholics don’t support Stupak now, if they continue to abandon him, it will come to be known as their Uriah the Hittite moment. They got in bed with politicians like Obama who were known pro-abortion extremists, because of the lure of those politicians’ progressive agenda.  They claimed to supportively call forward pro-life Democrats to be “abortion reducers.”  But when actual pro-life Democrats and Catholics took a virtuous stand against abortion expansion, they pulled back from the battle lines where those Catholics led the charge, and they left the pro-life Democrats to be politically struck down dead.

Catholics of all persuasions still have time to show their pro-life mettle.  Now, when Obama’s desire to pass something is strongest, is the time to insist on no abortion insurance funding and on conscience protections.  Now  is the time to show that unborn human beings are more important than partisan loyalty.

Read more from Matt Bowman at Catholic Vote Action

image Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld’s (1794-1872) depiction of the Prophet Nathan confronting David over his act of adultery with Bathsheba and his subsequent murder of Uriah the Hittite (center); to the left, Uriah’s dead body is brought into the city for burial and to the right, Bathsheba holds the son she bore to David.

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