Right Unites to Fight Health Care Reform

We have been collecting everything that the Religious Right has been saying about efforts to pass health care reform for an upcoming Right Wing Watch In Focus report and, in doing so, quickly noticed that their primary focus was on claiming that any such plan would lead to public financing of abortion.

Until recently, activists and organization had been primarily making this case individually, but now it looks like several of them have decided to team-up for a nationwide webcast tomorrow evening:

Pro-life groups, including Focus on the Family, are hosting a webcast Thursday at 9 p.m. EDT to educate and mobilize pro-lifers against President Obama’s healthcare reform bill, which currently mandates public and private insurance coverage of abortion.

The healthcare reform has hit a roadblock in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Fiscally conservative Democrats, known as Blue Dogs, have balked at the cost of the plan.

Pro-life advocates are hoping the delay allows them to marshal support for amendments that would take the federal funding of abortions out of the bill.

“We are advocating amendments that would simply remove any mandates for abortion, remove any federal subsidies for abortion,” said Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life.

Others agree that this is a watershed event for the pro-life movement.

Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List said: “It is without question the biggest event since Roe v. Wade when it comes to the pro-life issue.”

Participants include James Dobson, Charmaine Yoest, Tony Perkins, Frank Pavone, Marjorie Dannenfelser, Wendy Wright, Tom Minnery, Rep. Chris Smith, Richard Land, Day Gardner, and several others, including Mike Huckabee, according to Dan Gilgoff.

Politico has more on their effort:

A coalition of anti-abortion groups is set to open a new front against Democrats’ efforts to restructure American health care, claiming the plans open a back door to publicly financed abortions.

The groups, which are launching a broad campaign on the issue this week, claim that existing health care proposals constitute a stealth “abortion mandate” that will spend taxpayer money on abortions and require insurance companies to cover abortions — allegations that health care reform supporters call misleading.

“President Obama keeps on talking about common ground, and there is really, really common ground on funding issues,” said Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, the group organizing the planned three-week campaign on the issue. “Almost no one wants to fund abortion, regardless of their position on abortion as a whole.”

Yoest’s group plans to release a letter to Barack Obama on Thursday in which it cites, according to its reading of proposed legislation, “our belief that the bills are intended to include abortion.”

The noisy, contentious health care debate — which has grown pointedly acrimonious in recent days — has proceeded largely without reference to abortion. But the decision of these high-profile conservative groups to launch the new campaign under the rubric “Stop the Abortion Mandate” may change that and provide a new obstacle to the reform legislation.

The leaders involved include Christian conservatives such as James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family; Family Research Council President Tony Perkins; and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Dr. Richard Land, who will be launching the push in a webcast Thursday evening.

“We just realized how urgent the situation was, what was at stake,” said David Bereit, the national director of 40 Days for Life, another group involved in the campaign, which will focus on generating pressure on members of Congress to insist on an explicit ban on abortion within the legislation.