Did Pelosi Craft Pro-Abortion ObamaCare to Defeat Pro-Life Democrats?

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 11, 2010   |   2:05PM   |   Washington, DC

One narrative of the 2010 election campaign goes something like this: Democrats who earlier campaigned as pro-life advocates and typically voted that way caved in and supported the abortion-funding ObamaCare bill.

As a result, pro-life groups targeted them for defeat ant many of them lost their seats to pro-life Republicans who would have voted against the legislation.

But one pro-life activist wonders if pro-abortion stalwarts Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi didn’t plan it that way.

Jonathan Imbody, the vice president of government relations for the Christian Medical Associated writes in an opinion piece today he thinks there’s a possibility Obama and Pelosi purposely put these Democrats in the position they faced in order to weed out those who don’t toe the pro-abortion party line.

“The executive order supposedly provided political cover for the handful of pro-life Democrat holdout legislators. The order also created the appearance of preventing federal funding of abortions–funding that the public strongly opposed. In fact, the executive order did neither,” he explains.

“The recent election showed the gaping holes in the ‘political cover’ that Mr. Obama supposedly provided for his colleagues,” Imbody continues. “Eight of the 14 legislators pictured at the presidential executive order signing are now gone. Seven lost elections and the eighth, Bart Stupak of Michigan, retired after losing credibility over the executive order.”

This, Imbody explains, has led to a Democratic Party in the House of Representatives that may now be in the minority but that is staunchly pro-abortion.

“As a result, House Democrats in the new Congress will have lost the core of their already small pro-life contingent. Presumably led again by radically pro-abortion Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, they will now be able to vote more as a bloc on abortion-related matters, without worrying about the aggravating pro-life colleagues who stand in the way of their pro-abortion agenda,” he writes.

“So the question is, is it possible that Mr. Obama and Ms. Pelosi anticipated this eventuality all along? Did they envision the executive order as the perfect way to appear to accommodate the demands of their pro-life colleagues while actually sealing their demise?” Imbody asks.

National Right to Life Committee legislative director Douglas Johnson agrees in part that the elections did solidify the pro-abortion elements of the Democratic Party.

He asserts that last week’s election results represent a strong repudiation of lawmakers who voted for the health care law enacted last March, and discredit the attempts of certain organizations to whitewash the pro-abortion components of that bill.

“Hiding behind a hollow executive order signed by President Obama two organizations in particular – Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) and Catholics United – attempted to provide political cover for a group of Democrat “pro-life” lawmakers who flip-flopped and provided the votes that allowed the law to be enacted without effective pro-life language,” Johnson says.

“The bloc of Democrats who abandoned the pro-life movement to satisfy President Obama and Speaker Pelosi suffered severe losses. In all, at least a dozen House incumbents who had taken high-profile stands against federal funding of abortion, but who ended up voting for the health care law, were defeated by pro-life challengers (or, in Stupak’s case, suddenly retired),” Johnson said.

But Johnson also notes that abortion advocates suffered as well at the ballot box.

“Far greater losses were sustained among the ranks of House Democrats who had seldom or never voted pro-life: upwards of 40 were replaced by firmly pro-life Republicans,” he said.

Johnson also points to a post-election poll conducted for National Right to Life by the Polling Company which asked: “‘Did the issue of funding for abortion in the Obama health care law affect the way you voted in today’s election?”

Some 31% of voters responded in the affirmative — 27% who said they voted “for candidates who opposed the health care law,” and 4% who said they voted “for candidates who favored the health care law.”

“In other words, 87% of the voters who said the issue mattered, voted in accord with the NRLC position,” he said.

Johnson wrote, “The election results were good in the Senate, as well, where the net shift in the pro-life direction will be from four to seven votes, depending on the issue. No senator is being replaced by a successor who has a weaker position on abortion.”