In “Wrong Big Picture, Dangerous Fine Print: But Otherwise Obama Care is Swell,” James Capretta reports:
Funding abortion and abortion providers. Both the Senate HELP and House Democratic bills fail to exclude abortion from the services that constitute “qualified” insurance—which means, as a practical matter, abortion would be a required “covered benefit.” Thus, federal taxpayers would be forced to pay for abortions, and everyone would be forbidden to get insurance that does not cover abortion, even if he is spending only his own money.
A few months ago Jim Wallis of Sojourners said this in an interview:
Making abortion provisions part of healthcare reform will kill healthcare reform. . . . There are a number of people who believe this is an issue of deep moral conviction and conscience and there are firewalls that if they are breached will really destroy common ground.
Upon being asked by David Brody of CBN News: “Where are you or Sojourners on this issue of abortions being covered as part of a benefits package?” Wallis’s reply: “I’m against that.”
In my post “One Cheer for Jim Wallis,” I complemented him on that position, but also expressed some skepticism, partly because he has become little more than a flack for the Obama administration but also because Wallis has never really been serious on abortion:
Before we break out the Champaign, pop the corks, and celebrate the return of a prodigal to the pro-life fold someone needs to ask Wallis a follow-up question: What exactly is so morally objectionable about including abortion in health care reform? For example, Wallis has always claimed to be both pro-life and pro-women (whatever that means). Couldn’t his progressive friends argue that including abortion in health care reform is being pro-women? And if he opposed it, would that make him anti-women?
If Wallis’s opposition is truly principled (or “prophetic”) then we can expect Wallis and the Sojourners crowd to offer up a reasoned and articulate public argument for the moral wrongness of including this particular “health care procedure.” We would expect to hear from Wallis and the Sojourners crowd not merely the acknowledgment that other people have moral objections, but an explanation and articulation of Wallis own moral objections. We would expect an argument that informs his readers just exactly why his “progressive” friends are so wrong on this issue and the right wing “pro-life extremists” are right.
Last week almost seventy pro-life organizations signed a letter to Congress asking that abortion be clearly excluded from proposed health care bills. Signatories to the letter included Priests for Life President Fr. Frank Pavone, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Democrats for Life of America head Kristen Day, CatholicVote.org President Brian Burch, Day Gardner of the National Black Pro-Life Union, and Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B. Anthony List. John F. Brehany of the Catholic Medical Association and Christian Medical Association Senior Vice President Dr. Gene Rudd, M.D. also signed the letter.
Guess who is noticeably absent from the list of signatories? Wallis said that the abortion issue should not “doom the chances” of healthcare legislation. He characterized abortion in politics as a “contentious and ultimately unproductive debate” between “simplified and polarizing positions.”
Back to zero cheers for Jim Wallis.