Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Dog That Didn't Bark Finally Barks

President Obama said to a joint session of Congress that his plan for health care reform would not use Federal dollars to pay for abortions. Yet we knew even at the time that he was lying.

When he announced in his plan to make the Federal government the biggest health insurance provider in the nation that it wouldn't pay for abortions, do you remember the giant uproar it caused among abortion providers and their supporters? Remember the hand-wringing that went on by those worried that abortions would be underfunded and the abortion industry would be left out in the cold unable to offer their necessary services to women who need them? Oh, wait, that's right. There was no uproar. In fact, they didn't say "boo." No rants by Maureen Dowd, no e-mail campaign by Planned Parenthood, no released statements by Naral. Nothing. Not even a wimper by Pseudo-Catholics for Free Choice.

Apparently, they had reason to think that President Obama either didn't mean what he said or there was a giant loophole in his meaning. Well, Congressman Stupak provided the answer to that riddle. Obama was talking about a bill that didn't exist while the bills that existed in reality did and still do cover abortions with Federal (taxpayer-supplied) dollars, despite numerous attempts to amend the bills otherwise.

But even when pro-life amendments to the House and Senate bills were proposed, there was still no uproar from the abortion industry; that is, until now. Planned Parenthood is attacking the Catholic Church.

It is now perfectly clear that abortion will be covered under the plans that President Obama, Sen. Reid and Rep. Pelosi are pushing. And the Catholic Church is pushing back. In the last couple of weeks, the USCCB declared that unless abortion is taken out of the federal coverage and meaningful conscience protections are put in place, it will be forced to oppose the single reform that the Catholic bishops have been hoping for since the 1950's.

The only problem is, I don't know if they'll keep pushing or if they'll cave. History is not on our side. The Plan B "contraceptive" debacle that embroiled the State of CT and the CT Catholic Conference a few years back paints a disheartening picture: the bishops loudly declare that they'll fight to the end, then timidly release a statement on page A9 at the last hour admitting that the abortifacient would be allowed in Catholic hospitals.

I believed then that the bishops had a much stronger position than they either imagined or were willing to put on the table. If the Church had threatened to close its hospitals in the state--and I don't mean sell them to another health care company-- I mean, lay off the staff, demolish the buildings and set the land as a nature preserve, the state would have backed off in a heartbeat.

But that's not what happened. Instead, we got a half-hearted hope that the pill which was known to have abortifacient properties might not actually be acting as such. Sigh.

I fear that the bulletin-insert campaign (which, btw, many readers at CMR report didn't happen in their parishes this past weekend) is a little too little, too late.

Maybe I'm being naive, and if someone can help me understand this, please do. Why can't the bishops threaten to close Catholic hospitals if the health care proposal covers abortion with taxpayer dollars? Why can't they threaten it now unless a pro-life amendment is passed? What government body is going to find the funding to rebuild hundreds of hospitals throughout the country? And what politician is going to want that on his resume-- (I forced Catholic hospitals to close)?

No comments: