Responding to President Barack Obama’s efforts to rally sympathetic religious groups to back his proposed health care legislation, pro-life groups have organized prayer campaigns and issued protests of the proposal’s “abortion mandate.”
During a Wednesday teleconference sponsored by the left-leaning religious organizations Catholics United, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Faith in Public Life, both White House Director of Domestic Policy Melody Barnes and President Obama denied that the health care bill would allow for federally funded abortions.
Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), charged that Obama "brazenly misrepresented the abortion-related component of the health care legislation that his congressional allies and staff have crafted.”
The NRLC said that the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Capps-Waxman Amendment explicitly authorizes the government plan to cover all elective abortions.
In response to the situation Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, has announced an effort to build the “largest prayer group in history” by promoting membership in a “Pray to End Abortion” cause on the social network site Facebook.
At present the effort has posted a special prayer regarding the health care reform debate.
The prayer, addressing Jesus as the “Divine Physician,” intercedes for elected officials and asks that they have both “the humility to know that they are servants, not masters” and also “the wisdom to realize that every life has equal value.”
“Let every reform in our public policy be based on the reform of our hearts and minds,” the prayer concludes.
The prayer site is accessible at http://www.ProLifePrayers.org
The group Concerned Women for America has joined the large coalition known as Stop the Abortion Mandate, which opposes the coverage of abortion in proposed federal health care legislation.
Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America, claimed that “liberal religious leaders” of a dwindling population are siding with the dwindling numbers of those who support the “Obama/Reid/Pelosi government takeover of health care” that she says would require Americans to fund abortions.
Wright noted liberal Evangelical leader and Obama supporter Rev. Jim Wallis’ July 22 statement in which he said that the prohibition on federal abortion funding should be maintained.
“This last-minute rally for legislation that includes taxpayer funding for abortion and special privileges for abortionists to have access to school children (with Planned Parenthood in position to run school-based clinics) reveals that liberal religious leaders and Obama are not sincere in their claim to 'reduce abortions' and 'find common ground',” she charged.
“The vast majority of Americans, even those who call themselves pro-choice, do not want to fund abortions because they know that what the government funds, we get more of," she said.
The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) was also critical of the health care legislation.
"Nationalized health care is a recipe for disaster, for our country, for the unborn and for the elderly. The Party of Death cannot be trusted with such profound life decisions," C-FAM told CNA in an e-mail.