Catholics Lead Abortion Funding Effort in Congress

Deal W. Hudson
January 4, 2010

The present standoff over abortion funding in health-care reform pits two sets of Catholics against each other: The bishops, supported by pro-life leaders, zealously oppose abortion funding, while prominent Catholic members of Congress just as zealously promote it.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi leads the pro-abortion Catholic pack pushing hard for abortion funding in the health-care bill. Her 100 percent rating from NARAL should dispel any misconception about her decision to allow a vote on the Stupak-Pitts amendment: It was political expediency, pure and simple.

As if to assure her pro-abortion supporters before the final vote, Pelosi told Newsweek in a recent interview that the Church’s position on abortion denies women the “opportunity to exercise their free will.” Somewhere in her Catholic education, Pelosi evidently missed the lesson that moral rules are both possible and necessary because we have free will.

Pelosi’s pro-abortion partner is another Catholic, Rep. Rosa De Lauro (D-CT), who is always close at hand when members of Congress bash the Church for its stance on life issues. De Lauro said of the Stupak-Pitts amendment, “It takes away that same freedom of conscience from America’s women. It prohibits them from access to an abortion even if they pay for it with their own money. It invades women’s personal decisions.”

A few days ago, De Lauro told the Huffington Post that she might be willing to support the abortion language of the Senate bill. This is a significant admission since she is one of the House members assigned to work out the abortion language on the final version of the bill. She’s falsely claiming that the Senate bill is “abortion neutral,” that it maintains the current law. “Abortion neutral” is the favorite mantra being used by all the pro-abortion Catholics supporting this bill, including PelosiCatholics United, and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

The Catholic bishops don’t buy that argument. They recognize the Senate version of the bill is far from neutral and a direct violation of the Hyde Amendment since it mandates government subsidies for private insurance plans covering abortion. There are additional problems with the bill, such as the lack of conscience protections, but the bill gives power to the White House to require insurance companies to pay for abortions.

This last threat is the product of an amendment by the leader of pro-abortion Catholics in the Senate, Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). The Mikulski Amendment to the health-care bill, passed by the Senate on December 3, presents another avenue for federal funding for abortion by wrapping it under “preventative care” of “women’s health.” As National Right to Life has pointed out, Mikulski’s amendment would give the executive branch “sweeping authority to define services that private health plans must cover, merely by declaring a given service to constitute ‘preventive care,’ then that authority could be employed in the future to require all health plans to cover abortions.”

Standing shoulder to shoulder with Mikulski in the Senate are three other pro-abortion Catholics: John Kerry (D-MA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), all of whom have gone on the record supporting expansion of federal funding for abortion. Health-care reform is the opportunity they and other pro-abortion Catholics have been hoping for. Sadly, 15 Catholic Senators voted against an amendment that would have excluded abortion funding from the Senate bill.

Given the scandalous record of Catholics in Congress on life issues, it should come as no surprise that the presence of abortion funding in the health-care bill is largely the product of pro-abortion Catholics determined to overcome the restrictions of the Hyde Amendment.

If the health-care bill passes in its present form and is signed by President Obama, the Church will have to bear a portion of the blame. It’s not merely a matter of how hard the USCCB presses its case with the 111th Congress; the chain of cause and effect goes back decades and runs through universities, colleges, chanceries, schools, parishes, homes, and, of course, the USCCB itself.

By Deal Hudson

Deal W. Hudson was born November 20, 1949 in Denver, CO, to Emmie and Jack Hudson, both native Texans. Dr. Hudson had an older sister Ruth, and eventually, a younger sister, Elizabeth. Emmie Hudson, Ruth Hudson and Elizabeth Hudson now live in Houston, TX; Jack Hudson passed away some years ago. The late Jack Hudson was a captain for Braniff Airlines in Denver at the time of Dr. Hudson’s birth. Later the family moved to Kansas City when his father joined the Federal Aviation Agency. From Kansas City, the Hudson family moved to Minneapolis, then to Massapequa, NY, and finally to Alexandria, VA, where they first occupied a home overlooking the Potomac River adjacent to the Mount Vernon estate. After a year, the family moved to a home on Tarpon Lane a few houses up the street from the Yacht Haven boat docks. Dr. Hudson attended Mt. Vernon Elementary School from grades 4 to 6 and has a special gratitude for the teaching of Mr. Hoppe who first told him was a ‘smart lad.’ Having moved with his family to Fort Worth, TX in 1960, Dr. Hudson attended William Monnig Junior High and Arlington Heights HS. In high school, Dr. Hudson was captain of the golf team, editor of the literary magazine (Guerdon), and performed the role of Peter in the ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ during his senior year. Dr. Hudson graduated cum laude with a major in philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin in 1971 where his undergraduate advisor was Prof. John Silber. His teachers at the University of Texas included Prof. Louis Mackey and Prof. Larry Caroline. Dr. Hudson minored in both classics and English literature. Dr. Hudson lived in Atlanta from 1974-1989, where he attended Emory University, receiving a Phd from the Graduate Institute for the LIberal Arts. He also taught philosophy at Mercer University in Atlanta from 1980-89. In 1989 Dr. Hudson and his family left Atlanta when he was hired to teach philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx. Dr. Hudson taught at Fordham, and also part-time at New York University, from 1989 to 1994. Dr. Hudson first came to Atlanta in after graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) with an M.Div. While at PTS, Dr. Hudson managed the Baptist Student Union at Princeton University and became its first director. Dr. Hudson also was licensed at a minister in the Southern Baptist Convention at Madison Baptist Church in Madison, NJ. Dr. Hudson’s primary area of study at PTS was the history of Christian doctrine which he pursued with Dr. Karlfried Froelich. In 1984 Dr. Hudson was received in the Catholic Church by Msgr. Richard Lopez, with the special permission of Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan, at the chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in Atlanta. Dr. Hudson has been married twenty-five years to Theresa Carver Hudson and they have two children, Hannah Clare, 23, and Cyprian Joseph (Chip), 15, adopted from Romania when he was three years old. The Hudson family has lived in Fairfax, VA for more than fifteen years, after having lived five years in Bronxville, NY and a year in Atlanta, GA, where Theresa and Deal were married.

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