Finally, pro-life Democrats have emerged from wherever they’d been
sent after they helped the party win the majority. It was the ‘Blue
Dog’ conservative Dems, after all, who seized some necessary seats from
Republicans. After the election, it seemed they were banished,
unwelcome in a party that stands on a platform strongly built with
abortion planks.

Now, they’re speaking out.

Nineteen pro-life Democrats in the U.S. House of
Representatives yesterday issued a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
urging that the president’s healthcare reform package not place unborn
children in more danger by including abortion in the federal healthcare
plan.

“As the debate on health care reform continues and legislation is
produced, it is imperative that the issue of abortion not be
overlooked,” wrote the lawmakers.  “Plans to mandate coverage for
abortions, either directly or indirectly is [sic] unacceptable.”

The congressmen said that they would only accept a healthcare plan
that “explicitly excludes” abortion.  They said such restrictions would
“save lives,” citing a Guttmacher Institute survey that showed banning
taxpayer-funded abortion prevents about one third of abortions that
would otherwise occur.

Here’s the text of the letter:

June 25, 2009

Dear Honorable Pelosi:

As the debate on health care reform continues and legislation is
produced, it is imperative that the issue of abortion not be
overlooked.  Plans to mandate coverage for abortions, either directly
or indirectly is unacceptable.

We believe in a culture that supports and respects the right to life
and is dedicated to the protection and preservation of families. 
Therefore, we cannot support any health care reform proposal unless it
explicitly excludes abortion from the scope of any government-defined
or subsidized health insurance plan.  We believe that a
government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan, should not be
used to fund abortion.

Furthermore, we want to ensure that the Health Benefits Advisory
Committee cannot recommend abortion services be included under covered
benefits or as part of a benefits package.  Without an explicit
exclusion, abortion could be included in a government subsidized health
care plan under general health care.  The health care reform package
produced by Congress will be landmark, and with legislation as
important as this, abortion must be addressed clearly in the bill text. 

Furthermore, funding restrictions save lives by reducing the number
of abortions.  The Guttmacher Policy Review, a leading pro-choice
research organization noted “that about one third of women who would
have had an abortion if support were available carried their
pregnancies to term when the abortion fund was unavailable.”

Thank you for taking the time to consider our request.  By ensuring
that abortions are not funded through any health care reform package,
we will take this controversial issue off the table so that Congress
can focus on crafting a broadly-supported health care reform bill.

Respectfully yours,

….19 true and honorable House Democrats.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....