Pro-Life Lawmakers, Groups Under Attack for Not Supporting SCHIP Bill

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 17, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Lawmakers, Groups Under Attack for Not Supporting SCHIP Bill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 17,

Washington, DC ( — Pro-life lawmakers and group are under attack for not supporting the bill to expand the SCHIP program, which provides health insurance for poor children. The bill originally had the opposition of pro-life groups because it reversed a Bush administration policy helping poor pregnant women avoid abortions.

That policy has been restored, but those on the pro-life side of the abortion debate are still coming under fire.

The advocacy group Catholics United is running radio advertisements on Christian stations in 10 congressional districts targeting pro-life lawmakers.

Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, tells that, "Their targets for the SCHIP ads look like they were handpicked by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee."

"All the targeted congressmen, save one, are pro-life Republicans and of those nine, six are in very vulnerable districts," he added. "Such choices indicate that the ideal candidate for Catholics United is a pro-abortion Democrat."

Catholics United Executive Director Chris Korzen in a press release regarding these ads said, "Building a true culture of life requires public policies that promote the welfare of the most vulnerable.

But, given the organization’s determination to oust pro-life Republicans, the "most vulnerable" to Mr. Korzen "are clearly not innocent children in the womb," Perkins said.

Meanwhile, Rep. Tim Ryan, an Ohio Democrat, is attacking the National Right to Life Committee saying it is being hypocritical for not backing the bill.

Ryan claims the group isn’t supporting it because it cares more about the Republican Party than protecting unborn children.

“They leave me with no other option to go to other than they’re more interested in protecting President Bush than they are in protecting life,” Ryan told Congressional Quarterly.

But Douglas Johnson, NRLC legislative director, told CQ that his group is neutral on the bill because neither the House or Senate would codify the unborn child rule that allows states to help poor pregnant women receive medical care that would help them avoid abortions.

"They had their chance to put something in there for the pro-life community, and they batted it down,” he said.

At one point pro-abortion Democrats criticizing NRLC removed the pro-life provision from the bill.

Ryan joined other Democrats in sending NRLC a letter this week blasting it for not supporting the bill.

However, Ryan, who was considered a stalwart pro-life Democrat early in his Congressional career, has fallen out with pro-life groups — including Democrats for Life of America — and has voted less frequently for pro-life bills.
Ryan originally worked with DFLA a bill to reduce abortions, but lost the support of pro-life organizations and lawmakers when he put in provisions to fund programs run by Planned Parenthood, the leading abortion business.

His measure also has a provision informing women of the risks associated with abortion but allows the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which has long opposed telling women of abortion’s dangers, to craft what information abortion practitioners would provide.

After Ryan made the changes, Day’s organization balked and he was unable to find any other pro-life groups to support the bill.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which initially supported the measure, withdrew it support and Johnson, said his group couldn’t support the Ryan measure either.

"We don’t want the federal government further subsidizing the infrastructure and propaganda efforts of the abortion industry," he said, adding that Ryan’s bill would funnel "hundreds of millions of dollars" to Planned Parenthood.

Since then Ryan has gone after pro-life lawmakers and groups that don’t back his pro-abortion approach to reducing abortions.