In recent weeks, the number of Democratic lawmakers willing to join Rep. Bart Stupak’s (D-MI) crusade to bring down health care reform unless Congress amends the Senate bill’s abortion language keeps shrinking. Stupak began the debate with that 15 to 20 supporters; that number is down to fewer than a dozen now. As Igor Volsky notes, “it’s become difficult for Stupak and his gang of four (or five) to perpetuate the fundamentally dishonest claim that the Senate bill spends federal dollars to fund abortions.” Underscoring this point, this week, a group of 25 “pro-life Catholic theologians and Evangelical leaders” sent a letter to Congress urging them to look past the misinformation on abortion and pass health care reform. From their letter:
As Christians committed to a consistent ethic of life, and deeply concerned with the health and well-being of all people, we want to see health care reform enacted. [...]
We are writing because of our concern about the lack of clear and accurate information regarding abortion provisions in the health care reform bill passed by the Senate on December 24, 2009.
Reforming our health care system is necessarily complex, and the provisions related to abortion, or any other issue, require careful examination of the facts as they exist in the legislative language. We believe that the provisions below provide extensive evidence that longstanding restrictions on federal funding of abortion have been maintained. Furthermore, this bill provides new and important supports for vulnerable pregnant women.
The Catholic Health Association, “the national leadership organization of more than 2,000 Catholic health care sponsors, systems, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and related organizations,” has also sent Congress a letter urging lawmakers to pass the Senate health bill. The group writes that while the legislation isn’t perfect, it is “‘a major first step‘ toward covering all Americans and would make ‘great improvements’ for millions of people.”