She thought concern over the health care bill and whether it funded abortion played a role “because the conservative groups really used it, to a bad degree.”
She cited a hometown newspaper ad against Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Penn.) which said the congresswoman called the Catholic Church “liars” in defending her position that the health care legislation does not fund abortion.
The NRLC’s Johnson also he suspected opposition to the health care legislation was a motivating factor for voters, especially the “abortion-related problems” with the bill.
Criticizing “smokescreens” from what he called “phony front-groups like Catholics United and Democrats for Life of America,” Douglas said that President Obama’s health care law contains “many provisions which will expand abortion if they are allowed to go into effect.”
“Fortunately, most of them have not yet gone into effect,” Johnson added, advocating the repeal and replacement of the law.
In his view, the broader problem is the “piecemeal, patchwork fashion” of addressing abortion funding restrictions.
“The Hyde Amendment itself expires every year. A lot of people don’t realize it has to be reenacted.”
The proposed No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act would be a “comprehensive fix,” according to Johnson. At the National Right to Life Convention this summer, presumptive House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) endorsed the bill. It was also mentioned in the Republican leadership’s Pledge to America.
The act would “permanently prohibit federal funding and subsidies for abortion in all programs, and it wouldn’t expire every year.” Johnson deemed this a “top priority” to avoid a “charade” accompanying new federal programs which under present law constantly require new abortion funding regulations.
This proposal will be “a tough fight” because it will face opposition from Democratic leadership in the Senate and from President Obama, Johnson predicted. He charged that the president has been a proponent of abortion funding “despite his verbal position.”
SBA List’s Dannenfelser likewise backed uniform restrictions on abortion. She also proposed the defunding of Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States.
(Story continues below)
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“Planned Parenthood gets $300 million a year from taxpayers. This props up abortion centers across the nation and makes us all culpable in something most Americans disagree with.
Asked about likely pro-life legislation from the new Congress, Kristen Day said it would depend on Republican action in the House.
“I’m not sure that we have a pro-life majority in the Senate,” she explained.
Concerning the Catholic vote, Dannenfesler thought it was “a significant factor in restoring a pro-life Congress.”
“The more frequent churchgoers, those are the people we need to reach,” she told CNA. “The life issue is at the heart of the Church.”
For her part, Day said post-election reconciliation is needed.