Marjorie Dannenfelser

The “common ground” talk continues today – he repeats the incantation while insisting taxpayers subsidize and directly fund almost every abortion at any stage of gestation that occurs in our nation. The “common ground” here could only exist within various strains of the abortion rights movement – compulsory versus voluntary pro-abortion camps? And now the messaging coaches have Majority Whip Senator Durbin leading even pro-life Democrats like Pennsylvania’s Senator Bob Casey, Jr. and Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI) to a new point: “Don’t let abortion be the health care spoiler.” Yesterday, Durbin said on a Missouri radio show: “We’ve got to find a common ground here. We cannot let this important issue hit the rocks over abortion.”

The best way to get abortion out of health care: take it out. Don’t make us pay for it. It is that simple.

Common ground already exists. Not only will preserving Stupak and Nelson language in the final bill affirm common ground on the issue (Gallup tracked 60 plus margins opposing funding and subsidies of abortion, majorities comprised of men and women, pro-life and pro-choice), but it will literally take it off the radar.

Senators must choose: for the coat-hanger crowd backed up with a powerful, monied abortion lobby or for the vast majority of Americans who do not want to be complicit and a decision-maker via funding for other people’s abortions. There is no question that “common ground” for Durbin, Obama and the Democratic leadership means generous, opaque language to allow abortion funding. But anything other than a straight prohibition includes, common sense dictates, funding for abortion. The language in the Senate bill now, embraced by NARAL and Planned Parenthood and rejected by pro-life Senators, House members and groups, is definitively not common ground.

Courageous Democrats in the House who voted to stand with the common ground majority and Senate Democrats who are either pro-life or reject federal funding of abortion as a anti-choice violation of taxpayers’ conscience must vote against final passage if it contains abortion funding and subsidies. The pressure to weaken is intense. But to vote for an amendment that strips abortion funding and then vote for any bill at final passage that restores that funding is a lose – lose situation. You lose the love of every abortion camp and you blow up common ground at an opportunity to preserve it. The SBA List PAC is watching those final votes as we prepare our target lists for the 2010 elections.

This historic vote will not be forgotten. The abortion activists lobbying today are demanding an extreme shift in abortion policy. They are emboldened to overreach common ground by an ideologically committed White House and Congress completely out of step with voters. Pro-lifers of course want protections for women and for unborn children. But that is not what we are debating. We simply do not think anyone should be compelled to pay for a practice that directly undermines our consciences and commitment. The majority of America agrees that even if they are ambivalent on the issue, they should not have to fund it.

Senate and House Members – especially those who say they are pro-life, have an opportunity to put that label into action by supporting a strong abortion exclusion amendment in any final passage of health care reform.


Marjorie Dannenfelser

Marjorie Dannenfelser is President of the Susan B. Anthony List.

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