The health care reform debate is coming down to the wire in Washington. The news is filled with reports about parliamentary maneuvering, speculation about tactics, opinion polls, and political calculations.
The Senate has a bill that guarantees public funding for elective abortions. The President has a framework for a bill that has the same flaw as the Senate bill. The House has a bill with good pro-life language in it, but the House leadership seems to have given up on it.
There are so many possibilities and options on the table that you might think that what is needed is a scorecard or a crystal ball.
Actually, what’s needed more than anything else right now is courage.
There is a small handful of pro-life Democrats, led by Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan, who are going to be the key players in deciding what (if any) bill is passed by Congress and signed into law. It’s likely that the vote in the House will be so close that any defection from that pro-life stand may be decisive. It’s hard to imagine the pressure these Democrats must feel, and how strongly they are being importuned to change their vote.
And so we need these few pro-life representatives to be courageous, and hold to their principles in defense of life.
We also need to remember what can happen if a public figure fails to show courage. In 1970, the New York State Legislature was considering legalizing abortion. The bill was voted on in the Assembly, and it came to a 74 to 74 vote — a tie, thus killing the bill. Except that one legislator from an upstate district, who had initially voted “no”, rose to ask permission to change his vote. It was granted, and with that one switched vote, abortion became legal in New York, and thousands of unborn children lost their lives.
That’s the cost when public officials lose their nerve. Perhaps now would be a good time to offer a few prayers to St. Thomas More, the patron saint for profiles in courage among those in public office.
Tags: Health Care Reform