Thursday, July 23, 2009

Of 'abortion mandates' and political stunts

Sound the alarm!

Powerful abortion industry lobbyists and Wasington
, D.C., politicians have just launched a massive effort to mandate taxpayer-funded abortions as part of their proposed trillion-dollar healthcare takeover.

This political power-grab is an effort to implement one of the cornerstones of the "Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA), and could lead to a massive abortion industry bailout -- something the overwhelming majority of Americans oppose, and certainly cannot afford in these tough economic times.

"Sound the alarm"?

"Proposed trillion-dollar health-care takeover"?

"Political power-grab"?

Why am I thinking the organizers of this protest against public funding of abortion as part of health-care reform may be just as undone over "socialized medicine" as they are about paying for killing unborn babies?

YES, I REALIZE Democrats for Life is part of the protest effort -- and good on it for opposing the "abortion mandate" -- but the pro-life Dems aren't in the driver's seat on this one. Note all the red-meat conservative code words on the website.

I wonder why that is?

According to a "whois" search,, is registered to Students for Life of America, and the administrative contact for the domain is the group's executive director, Kristan Hawkins. Hawkins -- author of a recent op-ed piece opposing any "nationalized healthcare system" as a virtual death sentence for her son, who has cystic fibrosis -- is an alumna of Bush/Cheney 2004 and also has worked for the Republican National Committee.

And the Students for Life home page directs visitors to "SFLA’s new website dedicated to exposing the facts about national health care and how it will hurt all Americans." Unlike how, I suppose, having no health care . . . or losing one's health care with one's job . . . or being denied coverage for pre-existing conditions . . . or being denied coverage for lifesaving-but-expensive treatments apparently does no harm whatsoever to Americans now.

MEANWHILE, the Students for Life domain is registered to Josh Mercer of Ann Arbor, Mich. Mercer, a board member of Students for Life of Michigan, is an alumnus of the conservative Hillsdale College where, in 2000, he belonged to the College Libertarians and was its contact with the Libertarian Party of Michigan.

Mercer, communications director for the Catholic advocacy group Fidelis, also was a member of the anti-tax Club for Growth from 2001 through at least 2004.

The anti-mandate site's self-parodying scare language is the stock and trade of PAC attacks across the political landscape, and thus set off my BS detector. Trolling the Internet for information on who, and what, is behind the "URGENT nationwide webcast event" merely serves to confirm one's suspicions.

Which leads to an important question: Is this about principled opposition to an "abortion mandate" in health-care reform, or is it about partisan political posturing aimed at turning this most contentious of issues into President Obama's "Waterloo"?

Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan is one of 19 Democrats publicly bucking their party's leadership, declaring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi they will oppose any health-care reform measure that doesn't explicitly reaffirm standing congressional strictures against taxpayer funding of abortion. That is principled opposition to objective evil -- the evil being the taking of innocent human life in the name of "health care" -- and you can be sure those pro-life Democrats have paid, are paying and will continue to pay the price for their stand.

But Republicans shedding crocodile tears over an "abortion mandate" in a plan they'd be deriding as "socialized medicine" and a "political power grab" even if Mother Teresa were brought back from the dead to administer it? That's as disingenuous as it is cynical.

That organizations such as Priests for Life -- and even Democrats for Life -- have been suckered into being "useful idiots" for the Party of Greed's continuing war against ordinary Americans' economic and medical interests is damning testimony to the dysfunctional, codependent nature of our politics.

LET ME be unequivocal here -- abortion is evil. It is homicide directed against the most innocent and defenseless members of the human family. Financial support of this repulsive practice has no place in a health-care reform package.

Not only that, the presence of public subsidies for killing the innocent is philosophically incompatible with "reforming" a broken system that fails to affirm that medical care -- even life-saving medical care -- is a right based on one's humanity rather than a privilege based on one's ability to pay.

Both the deliberate taking of innocent life and the refusal to structure civil society so it values human dignity and worth over corporate profit and "the free market" are but variations on the world's oldest dodge. And we've been hemming and hawing on that count since Genesis, when God asked Cain a simple question and got a research paper from a PAC-funded think tank in reply.

Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let us go out in the field." When they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Then the LORD asked Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" He answered, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?"

ONE WONDERS whether today's conservatives would be upset that Cain slew Abel if they weren't convinced that Barack Obama or Nancy Pelosi put him up to it. One also wonders whether liberal Democrats could bear to inhabit a world where Eve slaying Abel in the womb would be just as unthinkable as Cain doing the deed some years later in the field.

It seems to me, however, that "abortion for all" Democrats and free-marketeer "pro-life" Republicans are more kindred in spirit than either side cares to admit. What it really boils down to is whether one prefers death by commission or by omission.

Legal abortion is one of the more obvious indicators of the "culture of death." But even if elective abortion disappeared tomorrow, the United States could not be considered a "pro-life" society so long as health care -- so long as treatment of serious and even life-threatening disease -- remained dependent upon one's ability to pay.

If Americans ended abortion today but still denied critical treatment to those who couldn't pay, we still would be sinning against human dignity. "Pro-life" nations don't make sick, old people choose between medicine and food.

Nations committed to justice don't have people with insurance still going bankrupt because of a serious injury or major illness.

IN TODAY'S "URGENT nationwide webcast event," we're going to see a variety of groups come out against "the abortion mandate" in congressional health-care reform bills. Great . . . we know what they're against. Heck, I'm against it, too.

What they won't be saying, though, is what they're for. Are they for equal access to medical care for all Americans? If "socialized medicine" is bad, what's their solution? Or are some Americans just more equal than others?

And since we're all into big "Stop the Abortion Mandate" events, it certainly is reasonable to ask whether the next "nationwide webcast event" will be a protest against the 86 percent of work-based health-insurance plans that pay for abortion services already.

Check that. Employment-based insurance that compels you to pay for elective abortions through your premiums.

Really, where are the protests against the massive -- and successful -- effort to mandate consumer-funded abortions as part of a corporate power-grab?

Does the present health-care system's free-market roots (and that it will likely leave 52 million Americans out in the cold by next year) mean we somehow haven't already been made accomplices in mass homicide? Or is killing somehow just a lot more icky when it's "socialized"?

ONCE UPON A TIME, John Lennon put it quite directly:

I'm sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocrites
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth

I've had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
What he said.

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