By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
With the numbers of pro-life legislators expected to increase dramatically after the upcoming midterm election, pro-abortion groups are threatening to renew the battle for abortion rights.
The Washington Times is reporting on an article written by Susan A. Cohen, director of government affairs for the pro-abortion Guttmacher Insitute in which she claims abortion advocates have been “forced . . . into a corner” by legislative maneuvering and need to regain momentum.
“Antiabortion advocates have unveiled a radical agenda aimed at eliminating abortion coverage from any health insurance plan that in any way touches a public dollar, whether directly or even indirectly, under the tax code,” Cohen said.
She claims this “goes far beyond the Hyde amendment,” and says abortion advocates will need to fight all the harder to make sure abortion coverage is included in Medicaid, in state health care “exchanges” and in private insurance policies.
“The whole purpose of health care reform was to expand coverage of basic health services, which logically should include the full range of reproductive health services, including abortion,” she wrote, noting that abortion is not rare — one in three U.S. women undergo the procedure by age 45.
“But with the Democratic Party on the run leading up to the midterm elections and the disinformation campaign against the health care law being used as a rallying tool on the right, it is not surprising that antiabortion activists feel emboldened,” she said.
She was also highly critical of the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” which was introduced this summer by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and 183 co-sponsors which will codify existing amendments such as the Hyde Amendment and other pro-life laws that prohibit the use of taxpayer funding for abortin.
Cohen predicts pro-lifers in Congress will use the bill to “demagogue against abortion” in health care and believes battles will also break out in state houses and even private insurance companies in the near future.
Five states — Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee — have already banned abortion coverage in state health exchange plans, even though those exchanges won’t be operational until 2014.
Pro-life leader Marjorie Dannenfelser told the Times that if Ms. Cohen is accusing the pro-life movement of having a strategy to disconnect abortion from taxpayer funds, “I plead guilty. She is right.”
“Poll after poll shows that Americans do not want their tax dollars funding abortions, yet the Obama administration and its allies in Congress have expanded taxpayer funding of abortion both here and abroad in unprecedented ways,” said Dannenfelser, who is president of the Susan B. Anthony List, which supports pro-life issues and candidates.
She also believes the abortion issue is going to come back full force after the elections. “There’s really no question that [the midterm elections] will strengthen the pro-life power in the House and Senate. The question is what will we all do with it.”
However, because polls are showing that Americans are becoming increasingly pro-life, she believes there’s no reason to delay a hard push to make sure tax payer dollars are not used to fund the abortion industry.
There’s been “a sea change in our ability” to influence abortion debates and “we are seizing the moment,” she said.
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