Pro-life movement and GOP politics: an unholy alliance

By Chris Korzen Self-proclaimed pro-life groups with close ties to the Republican Party are spending millions of dollars in a … Continued

By Chris Korzen

Self-proclaimed pro-life groups with close ties to the Republican Party are spending millions of dollars in a deceitful attempt to defeat pro-life members of Congress who voted for health care reform. People of faith who believe in a consistent ethic of life should be outraged and stand up for their values.

My organization, Catholics United, recently launched an unprecedented campaign to organize and inform constituents in several congressional districts where Members of Congress are being targeted by the Susan B. Anthony List, the Family Research Council and the National Right to Life Committee. These groups falsely claim that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provides federal funding for elective abortions, even though the Catholic Health Association, a bevy of health-care policy experts, and independent analysts have repeatedly debunked this abortion-funding myth.

The religious right will point to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ opposition to health care reform as evidence that abortion funding concerns were not addressed in the final legislation. However, the USCCB’s opinion was based on a misunderstanding of the bill’s abortion funding provisions. Furthermore, last week the bishops issued a statement commending the Obama administration for upholding the ban on federal funding of abortion following false accusations – made by the National Right to Life Committee and the Family Research Council – that a high risk insurance pool in Pennsylvania contained $160 million in federal funding for abortion.

So why are these groups ignoring the facts and attacking pro-life Democrats who worked tirelessly to ensure that health care reform prohibited abortion funding? Because their campaign is really about winning back GOP control of Congress. Targeted Members of Congress – Ohio Representatives John Boccieri and Steve Driehaus, Pennsylvania Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper and Congressman Tom Perriello of Virginia – are Catholics who hold seats in districts with high percentages of pro-life voters. Making sure these voters believe their Representatives betrayed the pro-life cause is a key component of the Republicans’ election strategy.

By perpetuating the abortion-funding myth, these organizations are not only sacrificing honesty on the altar of political expedience, but also working to undermine legislation the pro-life community should embrace as an unmitigated victory. In addition to expanding health coverage to millions of Americans, the health care reform law creates programs that provide needed supports for pregnant women and new mothers. It also mandates coverage of prenatal care and bans insurers from labeling pregnancy a pre-existing condition. In addition to making needed care affordable and accessible, such policies address the root causes of abortion. Pro-life health care supporters like Rep. Dahlkemper know that embracing a whole life agenda includes health care for all, and economic and social support for those who need it most. Despite absorbing the brunt of the smear campaign, Dahlkemper is adamantly defending her vote for health care reform. People of faith, and Catholics in particular, should admire her unabashed commitment to the common-good values that lie at the heart of the Christian tradition. Dahlkemper’s allies in the faith community can now sign an open letter in support of her voting record on jobs, Wall Street reform, health care, and other common-good issues. We’ll soon be launching similar efforts elsewhere.

Americans are tired of dirty politics. What we desperately want are results. It’s time for people of faith to push back against those who misuse the language of religion for political gain, and reward leaders who work hard to promote the common good.

Chris Korzen, Executive Director, Catholics United

About

  • jweley

    Chris Korzen’s attack on Republicans features a cynical assertion that they are motivated only by elective politics and not by substantive concerns over provisions pertaining to abortion. We ought to be very reluctant to attribute motivation to political operatives since we are not in a position to get inside their heads and hearts to the degree necessary to support any allegations about motivation. Asserting bad faith on the part of one’s opponents is a sure way to debase the political discourse and to distract from the fundamental issues of the extent to which public funds ought to flow to those performing abortions. This is the debate that we need to have. It would be a good idea to cease and desist from the practice of avoiding debate by attacking motives.

Read More Articles

Valle Header Art
My Life Depended on the Very Act of Writing

How I was saved by writing about God and cancer.

shutterstock_188545496
Sociologist: Religion Can Predict Sexual Behavior

“Religion and sex are tracking each other like never before,” says sociologist Mark Regnerus.

5783999789_9d06e5d7df_b
The Internet Is Not Killing Religion. So What Is?

Why is religion in decline in the modern world? And what can save it?

river dusk
Cleaner, Lighter, Closer

What’s a fella got to do to be baptized?

shutterstock_188022491
Magical Thinking and the Canonization of Two Popes

Why Pope Francis is canonizing two popes for all of the world wide web to see.

987_00
An Ayatollah’s Gift to Baha’is, Iran’s Largest Religious Minority

An ayatollah offers a beautiful symbolic gesture against a backdrop of violent persecution.

Screenshot 2014-04-23 11.40.54
Atheists Bad, Christians Good: A Review of “God’s Not Dead”

A smug Christian movie about smug atheists leads to an inevitable happy ending.

shutterstock_134310734
Ten Ways to Make Your Church Autism-Friendly

The author of the Church of England’s autism guidelines shares advice any church can follow.

Pile_of_trash_2
Pope Francis: Stop the Culture of Waste

What is the human cost of our tendency to throw away?

chapel door
“Sometimes You Find Something Quiet and Holy”: A New York Story

In a hidden, underground sanctuary, we were all together for a few minutes in this sweet and holy mystery.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

sunset-hair
From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.