and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Barbara's Column
November #2

How Pelosi pulled a fast one on pro-life lobby
by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Thursday, November 12, 2009

Red Mass Group blogger Garrett Quinn told me on Monday that he was 5 years old when the Berlin Wall came down. I've wondered why I don't remember the event itself; I heard about it later from Washington-based taxpayer activist Grover Norquist, who was in Berlin during that period.

I dug out my old appointment calendars, and saw why I missed it: In November 1989, Citizens for Limited Taxation was finishing up its petition drive to repeal the Dukakis tax hikes. I wouldn't have noticed if the Berlin Wall merged with my little stone wall out back.

We had enough signatures, but lost the 1990 ballot campaign; tried again on the income-tax rate 10 years later, and won a rollback. But the thrill of watching the end of the Cold War, live on the news, was forever lost.

I wasn't going to miss the next potentially earthshaking event in United States history, so I spent last Saturday evening live-blogging the House debate on Obama/PelosiCare with Garrett and people named Eabo Clipper, Cool Cal and obi juan.

Look, Peter, I can fly! Into the Internet Never Never Land of Red Mass Group, the conservative balance to liberal-run Blue Mass Group. I logged on with a password Garrett gave me around 4 p.m., and blogged on until almost morning.

Many others, none of whom I know by their "real" name, joined us through the evening. It took me a while to get the flow not so much the technology, but what was almost certainly an age difference of roughly 40 years. It took my full attention to watch the debate on C-SPAN and type responses to what I saw; the younger bloggers seemed to be doing four or five things at once, including following football and soccer games, checking other Internet sites for commentary and data, cooking pasta and drinking to each platitude that was uttered by Democrats in debate ("social justice" drink! "Kennedy reference" drink! "Hope" drink!).

But the added value was apparent. When Congressman Mike Pence, R-Ind., gave an inspiring speech about freedom, a You Tube link was immediately posted to send to friends; Michele Malkin was twittering in with her own ongoing analysis; and roll calls appeared right after they were taken. I know Massachusetts legislative rules, but occasionally needed Cool Cal to tell me what was happening in this congressional debate.

By 5 p.m. we were discussing the Stupak Amendment to the bill. This would be a separate vote, before the final vote on Obama/PelosiCare, to forbid government funding of abortions either directly or by subsidizing private abortion coverage.

Congressman Bart Stupak of Michigan is a pro-life Democrat whose amendment could deliver other pro-life Democrats who might otherwise vote against the final bill. Republicans, united for a planned nay vote on Obama/PelosiCare, had a decision to make. Even pro-choice Republicans have traditionally been opposed to forcing taxpayers to fund abortions; a yea vote on the Stupak Amendment would be consistent with that position, but could deliver Democratic votes that would pass the entire package in the end. And a nay vote on the overall bill could save the country from a government takeover of the health-care sector of our economy.

Soon we learned of a possible strategy: Republicans would vote present instead of yea or nay, to indicate continued opposition to abortion funding. This would not add to the yea votes necessary to pass the anti-abortion amendment that would free pro-life Democrats to vote for the final bill. Unfortunately, the national Right to Life Committee immediately sent a stern warning that it would count a "present" vote as a vote in favor of taxpayer-funded abortion, essentially threatening all Republicans with political oblivion after the next election.

The fearful Republicans voted yea and the amendment passed. A short while later, Obama/PelosiCare passed 220-215, with only one Republican, pro-lifer Anh Cao of Louisiana, now supporting it. By the next day, Philip Klein of the American Spectator had ascribed 16 of the final 220 yea votes to the passage of the Stupak Amendment. So it looked as if the pro-life lobby was responsible for a House vote that could bring an end to America as we know it.

However, the Senate will debate its own version, which at present has no specific language to forbid abortion funding, and may not have the votes to pass same. But if it does, a House-Senate conference committee will create a compromise bill. Many pro-choice Democrats have vowed to vote against the package if the Stupak Amendment isn't removed before the final votes. They apparently can't wait to force all taxpayers to pay for abortions.

So fortunately the foolish right could be balanced by the foolish left, both of which seem to think this is a debate about abortion. In fact, if ObamaCare passes, it will be only a matter of time before abortion funding is added again, along with "death panels" for frail elders. Once the liberal government is in charge of our health and our lives, it will be actively encouraging abortion in order to "reduce the carbon footprint" of the American family.

Celebrate! The Berlin Wall came down, and ObamaCare can still be defeated.

The comments made and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her column appears weekly in the Salem News and other Eagle Tribune newspapers; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in the Lowell Sun, Providence (RI) Journal and other newspapers.