Abortion Mandate in Senate Health Care Bill Energizes Pro-Life Activists Ahead of National Rally

January 18, 2010 - 8:13 PM
Pro-life activists say this year's commemorative "March for Life" on Friday is more significant than any to date because of what Congress is trying to do.

Pro-life demonstrators at the Jan. 22, 2009, March for Life in Washington, D.C. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – Friday marks the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion-on-demand nationwide, and a coalition of more than 70 pro-life organizations says this year’s commemorative “March for Life” on that day is more significant than any to date.
 
“January 22 of this year, 2010, takes on even more importance as Congress prepares to vote on a sweeping takeover of health care that would mandate abortion coverage and mandate government funding for abortion,” David Bereit, campaign director for 40 Days for Life, one of the groups in the march’s coalition, said in a video promoting the event.
 
“If this legislation passes, we will be paying for abortion with taxpayers’ dollars,” Kristan Hawkins, executive director for the pro-life college campus ministry Students for Life of America, told CNSNews.com.
 
Even though the Democrats' legislation allows states to possibly “opt out” of providing at least one insurance plan that covers abortion, activists say federal dollars will be used to pay for health plans that cover abortion in the states that potentially do not opt out.
 
“Yes, in the Senate version it says states can opt out,” Hawkins said. “But it doesn’t mean you won’t be paying for abortion. Even if you were to opt out, it doesn’t mean you won’t be paying for abortion in another state.”
 
In a Dec. 21 press release, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said, “The new language does include a ‘state opt-out’ provision if a state passes a law to prohibit insurance coverage of abortion, but it’s a sham because it does nothing to prevent one state’s tax dollars from paying for elective abortions in other states."
 
Although the Park Police no longer provide official crowd estimates of events on the National Mall, past “March for Life” events have seen thousands and even hundreds of thousands gather to march from the Ellipse near the White House to the steps of the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill.
 
Americans are not the only people who will be represented in the large crowd. Leaders of Human Life International (HLI) from Africa, Europe, and Asia claim pro-abortion policies in the United States have taken a toll around the globe.

Pro-life demonstrators at the Jan. 22, 2009, March for Life in Washington, D.C. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

“America’s March for Life is now the world’s March for Life," Joseph Meaney, director of International Coordination for Human Life International (HLI), said in a statement issued about the march. “It has become the world’s pro-life protest because of the aggressive promotion of abortion and population control that is now the official policy of the United States, thanks to the administration of President Barack Obama.”
 
Dr. Ligaya Acosta, HLI regional coordinator for Asia and Oceania, cited in the statement one of the first executive orders that Obama signed, after taking office a year ago, to reverse the Mexico City Policy put into place by President Ronald Reagan. That policy had prohibited U.S. dollars from being used to promote or provide abortion through federally funded programs around the world.
 
“This is not only the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which has led to the destruction of almost 50 million American children,” Acosta said. “This is now the anniversary of President Obama's allowing Americans’ taxpayer funds to be used to promote abortion and other assaults on life in my own country of the Philippines, in Africa, in China … all over the world where 40 million babies are killed every year. It is wrong and we are here to tell him and Congress to stop paying to kill our children.”
  
“We are tired of the arrogant American government trying to tell us how many children we should have,” said Emil Hagamu, HLI’s regional coordinator for English-speaking Africa. “President Obama is of Kenyan descent.
 
“How can he do this to his own people?” Hagamu said.
                                             
Raymond DeSouza, HLI's coordinator for Portuguese-speaking nations, said tying abortion to international aid promotes violence as a part of foreign policy.
 
 “When international aid is tied to abortion, it’s like holding a nation hostage, telling them that children are bad, which translates into hopelessness for the future,” DeSouza said. “This is a terrible violence against the families and children of the developing world.”
 
Peter Shinn, who heads the pro-life network Pro-Life Unity, says in the March for Life promotional video that the health care legislation now being proposed in Congress could add millions more to the over 50 million unborn children who have been aborted since 1973.
 
“If Planned Parenthood and abortion lobbyists are successful getting their friends in the House, the Senate, and the White House to give them what they want – a massive government funded bailout – it will result in the largest expansion of abortion since Roe versus Wade,” Shinn said. “That’s why this Jan. 22 it is critical that every pro-life American take a public stand to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
 
The coalition Web site, www.stoptheabortionmandate.com, features the video and detailed information about the pro-life march ranging from arranging visits with members of Congress to tips on making signs and traveling by Metro trains.
 
Hawkins, whose organization holds its national conference of more than 1,000 college students in conjunction with the march, said passage of the proposed health care legislation would be devastating to both the movement and the unborn.
 
“Millions of lives will be lost and it will set us back for years to come,” Hawkins said of the bill’s passage. “But if we defeat it, it will be a shining star and it will really show what can happen when we come together, when we work together.”
 
The March for Life begins at noon on the National Mall.