National Right to Life vs. Democrats for Life

As Jivin J indicated in his post today, yesterday agreed with the National Right to Life Committee that PA's federally funded high risk insurance pool would have covered all abortions except "those 'sought solely because of the sex of the unborn child'" had not NRLC sounded the alarm.

NRLC and other pro-life groups maintain this loophole is one of many yet to be discovered in the new 2k page healthcare law, despite Obama and pro-life Democrats' assurances that the combination of the Nelson Amendment and Obama's executive order ban federally funded abortions from Obamacare unless for rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.

On July 17 Charles Krauthammer, a pro-abort I might add, said on Fox the PA controversy was evidence "Stupak was taken. He couldn't stand the heat on this...."

But on July 18 Democrats for Life of America issued a fundraising appeal, making harsh accusations against NRLC in the process. Click to enlarge...

DFL fundraising appeal july 18.png

I asked DFL president Kristen Day about this. Kristen knows I agree with NRLC and Krauthammer that Stupak et al were indeed taken, that Obama's EO is worthless. But she appreciates that I try to report fairly. This was her view:

My problem with NRLC is it continually bashes the pro-life Democrats and says they're wrong.

The pro-life Democrats who voted for healthcare supported it all along, and the pro-life Democrats who voted against healthcare opposed it all along. That doesn't mean one is more pro-life than the other in my eyes.

Most pro-lifers don't work with these people day in and day out. These people really went to bat to get the EO.

The administration probably wouldn't have called for these strong pro-life high risk pool rules had it not made this commitment to pro-life Democrats.

I think we need to give credit to them rather than continually criticizing them. Regarding your opinion of healthcare reform, the fact is high risk pools will not fund abortions.

Yet on July 20 Kristen issued this email (click to enlarge):

kristen july 20 email.png

See NARAL's appeal here.

I asked Kristen about the apparent discrepancy in emails. She responded:

I think what NRLC is doing is partisan, but I probably wouldn't have caught it [the PA high risk pool loophole]. I appreciate that NRLC brought it to my attention so I could get on the phone to the administration.

I asked Kristen what she saw in the NARAL email she wanted others to see, because IMO it made NRLC's case. She said:

Because there's a lot of misinformation out there - people have been saying all along Planned Parenthood and NARAL loved the healthcare bill and saw the Nelson Amendment as a sham - I thought people should see NARAL's own words, their anger, not simply trust what the administration is putting out there.

Kristen and I are seeing things pretty much oppositely on this one. But Kristen closed:

Long ago pro-life groups decided to respect our different missions - tactics. Ours is to create to a strong pro-life voice within the Democrat Party,

For people to say pro-life Democrats are dead couldn't be farther from the truth. They believe the EO will stick, and they believe there is no federal funding for abortion. They believe it did not compromise their pro-life views. I know there was a lot of anger over the healthcare bill, but we can't mix the 2.

We just had almost all pro-life Democrats sign on the letter Rep. Gene Taylor wrote to stop the amendment for military funding of abortion. Some did that who wouldn't have in the past. Because there is more of a pro-life voice within the party they feel it's okay, whereas before they wouldn't have stood up.

The problem is not the House, the problem is the Senate. We have a pro-life majority in the House right now b/c these pro-life Democrats are willing to stand up to Pelosi and anti-life leadership.

Time will tell if abortion language is in the healthcare bill. But if we get rid of pro-life Democrats in the House, there will be no stopgap.


So when Democrats for Life of America sent out a national fund raising appeal on July 18, charging that "the Republican controlled National Right to Life Committee" was spreading "lies," specifically referring to NRLC's "false press release claiming Pennsylvania was going to use federal funds under the new health care law to fund abortions," I guess that would be an example of the "respect" of which Kristen Day speaks?

It is remarkable that in her email to Jill Stanek, quoted above, Kristen Day remarks nonchalantly, "Time will tell if abortion language is in the healthcare bill." She ceaselessly defends the lawmakers who voted for the bill, and her organization is soliciting funds to defend them some more -- but "time will tell" whether the law they voted for expands abortion? Thank God it is Friday.

Douglas Johnson
Legislative Director
National Right to Life Committee
Washington, D.C.

Posted by: Douglas Johnson at July 23, 2010 2:54 PM

It's not just Democrats for Life vs. National Right to Life. DFLA is the only "pro-life" group to support the pro-abortion health care bill. It has also been the subject of criticism from other groups such as FRC, see

While DFLA has focused its attacks on NRLC (and it is more accurate to say that it is DFLA vs. the pro-life movement. That is especially the case since it is defending those candidates that other groups (such as SBA List) is working against because of their votes for the bill.

Posted by: Steven Ertelt at July 23, 2010 2:55 PM

Let's be honest here, guys. When it comes to the big picture, both NRLC and take a decidedly pro-Republican/conservative tilt. This year's debate over the pro-life-ness of pro-life Democrats is just the latest iteration.

Posted by: Pro-life Atheist at July 23, 2010 3:04 PM

Pro-Life Atheist: We take,in your words, "a decidedly pro-Reublican/conservative" tilt only because Republicans and conservatives tend to be the ones who are pro-life.

Rmember the first portion of your moniker - Pro-Life.

Which Democratic presidents have been pro-life? And what about our current Democratic president?

Which current Democratic congressional leaders are pro-life?

Which members of which partly mostly voted for the pro-abortion health care bill and which mostly voted against it?

Which party has a pro-life plank in its platform and which promotes abortion funded with your tax dollars and mine?

Which party receives awards from pro-abortion groups and the abortion businesses and which receives awards from pro-life groups?

There exists only a percption of bias on your part because most Republicans/conservatives are the ones who are pro-life while most Democrats are the ones who are pro-abortion.

We praised and mentioned the authentic pro-life Democrats (Lipinski, Taylor, etc.) who voted against the pro-abortion health care bill. It's funny how they're now the ones left out in the cold by DFLA while the organization rushes to defend their counterparts who sold out.

At we have no apology for being pro-life and no apology for calling on the carpet people or politicians from an party who are not. But until the political landscape changes, its Democrats who are the ones who are promoting abortion generally while Republicans are the ones working to stop it.

If you're truly pro-life, show some outrage about that, not about those of us shining the light on it.

Posted by: Steven Ertelt at July 23, 2010 3:47 PM

I understand having a difference of opinion on issues. But for Democrats for Life to lash out against another pro-life group for the sake of fundraising, a line has been crossed. Not only has NRLC been proven right on this matter, they’ve conducted themselves with dignity in response to so-called pro-life politicians and organizations that can’t seem to understand the basics of this situation.

Posted by: Brad Mattes at July 23, 2010 3:57 PM

It's funny, because most pro-lifers are so excited to see non-typical pro-lifers. And yet when non-typical prolifers start acting non-typically, they start crying.

Do we really think the pro-life Democrats are *lying* about their intentions? Maybe they are, in some people's minds, mistaken--I happen to agree with NRLC on this one.

Remember, American Right to Life (or what's left of them) thinks that NRLC, Steven Ertelt and every homosexual are bad, hell-bound prolifers. Now we seem to be picking on Democrats for Life for being mistaken (read: thinking differently!) than the rest of us.

And we think this will help end abortion? We deserve to lose.

Posted by: Nate Sheets at July 23, 2010 5:56 PM

Democrats for Life defends a pro-contraception, pro-euthanasia health care law. National Right to Life unapologetically defends a partial-birth abortion regulation "law" that instructs abortionists to stab a baby in the head after pulling him out as far as his naval.

Both organizations are busted.

Posted by: Cranky Catholic at July 23, 2010 7:40 PM

And we think this will help end abortion? We deserve to lose...Nate

It is a question of effectiveness, Nate. Of course any dyed in the wool pro-lifer would never say we deserve to lose. What we are trying to do is marshall our forces and not waste time and energy going down dead end roads, which is exactly what expending energy on Democrats amounts to. The dem party as a whole is so entrenched in pro abortion politics the only practical thing at this time is to write them off.

The dems had a chance to show us something the past four years since they re-took both houses of congress. They had their chance and they showed us their true colors. They fooled a bunch of people into voting for them (Rahm's strategy in 2006 was exactly this--run conservative and "pro-life" dems in districts to counter pro-life conservative repubs) and they actually ended up hurting the pro-life cause because they couldn't take the heat and succumbed to Pelosi and Obama. Fool me once....

Posted by: Jerry at July 23, 2010 7:58 PM

National Right to Life unapologetically defends a partial-birth abortion regulation "law" that instructs abortionists to stab a baby in the head after pulling him out as far as his naval...Cranky

I have to admit--you have got me on this one. Kindly reference the source.

Posted by: Jerry at July 23, 2010 8:02 PM

Jerry, go to National Right to Life's homepage. There you will find NRTL applauds SCOTUS decision.

Then go to the SCOTUS ruling. Written in the decision are alternatives to PBA such as delivering as far as the baby's naval rather than his neck or stabbing a needle into the baby's chest.

I cannot provide links since I am posting via mobile phone.

Posted by: Cranky Catholic at July 23, 2010 8:52 PM

Time will tell, Kristen?

Two thousand pages of IRS bureaucrats, loss of medical liberty, higher insurance premiums,forced mandates/taxes, and---my personal favorite---Berwick's healthcare rationing was worth it, Kristen? Look at how much you're fighting against your own party these days.

Looks like time is telling us that this bill is still wildly unpopular with the American public, abortion funding notwithstanding.

Posted by: carder at July 23, 2010 9:24 PM

Has Charles Krauthammer ever given a reason for his pro-choice stance?

Posted by: Janet at July 23, 2010 9:44 PM

CC, I just read parts of SCOTUS decision and I didn't see any alternatives spelled out. Maybe you could find it and post it when you get to a computer. How can you not be glad that the SCOTUS voted in favor of the PBA ban?

Posted by: truthseeker at July 24, 2010 3:31 AM

Abortion funding IS in there. The laww will funnel a bonanza of our tax dollars to Planned Parenthood who will be playing bookkeeping shell games and building abortuaries and paying staff with our money. Say this out loud with me...I should have insisted on Hyde like language. I should have insisted on Hyde like language. I should have insisted upon Hyde like language. And when the non-critical care part of Obamacare kicks in abortions will be offered and paid for by Obamacare only it will be the insurance companies playing the bookkeeping shell game with our money.

Posted by: truthseeker at July 24, 2010 3:41 AM

None of this could have happened if there were Hyde like language written into the bill. When Stupak voted against his own amendment he became the most infamous turncoat I know in politics.

Posted by: truthseeker at July 24, 2010 3:45 AM

If a living fetus is delivered past the critical point by accident or inadvertence, the Act is inapplicable.

Oopsies. He came out too far. *kills the baby.

If the doctor intends to remove the fetus in parts from the outset, the doctor will not have the requisite intent to incur criminal liability.

To avoid liability, tear off the baby's arms and legs.

The conclusion that the Act does not impose an undue burden is supported by other considerations. Alternatives are available to the prohibited injection that kills the fetus is an alternative under the Act that allows the doctor to perform the procedure.

Posted by: Cranky Catholic at July 24, 2010 10:59 AM


Thinking differently is one thing. Pro-life Catholics should be able to work with pro-life evanelicals, pro-life Methodists should be able to work with pro-life atheists, pro-life Democrats and Republicans should be able to work together. Pro-life vegetarians and meat eaters, liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Repubicans, youth and elerly, blacks and whites, the list goes on and on.

But to vote for or support those who voted for legislation that requires you and me to pay for killing unborn children via abortion is NOT "thinking differently."

Posted by: Steven Ertelt at July 24, 2010 11:24 AM

Cranky: Had a chance to just briefly look at the Act. It says right off the top that the (partial birth abortion) procedure is "gruesome" and the purpose of the act is prohibit it.

I do not believe the NRTL promotes any kind of abortion. They do applaud the SCOTUS upholding the ban on PBA because that in itself is a good thing and is also another step in trying to curtail and eventually eliminate abortions.

I do agree though that some of their (NRTL) strategies are questionable.

Posted by: Jerry at July 25, 2010 12:38 PM

That NRTL applauds a decision that handed down a manual for performing 2nd-trimester abortions is a testimony to the brokenness of the organization.

Posted by: Cranky Catholic at July 25, 2010 4:19 PM

The NRTL applauded the SCOTUS decision that upheld language which prohibits PBA. This does not constitute an endorsement of language that in any way supports alternative abortion procedures.

Further, I do not see "a decision that handed down a manual for performing 2nd-trimester abortions" nor do I see a willingness on the part of the NRTL to abandon principle on this issue.

Posted by: Jerry at July 25, 2010 7:51 PM

The PBA decision bans delivering a baby past his shoulders and stabbing him in the head. It does not ban delivering a baby past his naval and stabbing him in the head. It does not ban tearing one leg off, delivering the baby past his shoulders, and stabbing him in the head.

PBA decision does nothing. NRTL applauds.

Obama's Executive order does nothing. DFL applauds.

Posted by: Cranky Catholic at July 26, 2010 7:37 AM

Cranky, NRLC rightly applauds the banning of a kind of abortions. Unless you're pro-abortion, there's no reason to oppose the banning of any kind of aborion procedure. Obviously, NRLC and the rest of us hope all abortions are banned at some point. Instead of bashing them for bannong one, work with them to ban them all.

Posted by: Steven Ertelt at July 26, 2010 8:25 AM

Steven, the SCOTUS decision doesn't ban PBA. It bans one formula for performing it.

Why does NRLC applaud it? What's so hard about saying "this didn't turn out the way we hoped because no lives will be saved?"

Posted by: Cranky Catholic at July 26, 2010 6:15 PM

Cranky: The SCOTUS decision upholding the legislation shows how difficult things are to get anything done to protect innocent unborn life. The system we have is not perfect, the people we have leading us are not perfect. I would suggest you take that into account before coming down too hard on the NRTL. If you can do better, if you have a magic formula, please let us know what that is.

Posted by: Jerry at July 29, 2010 10:01 PM

Jerry, "a better" formula would be for Christians to follow James Dobson's famous pledge (invoking God's name) at the March for Life Rally (about 10 years ago?)... "to never support a politician that would kill ONE innocent baby.."

That standard should be applied to 'right to life' groups, pro-life legislation, etc.

Posted by: m ballentine at July 29, 2010 11:04 PM

Jerry, I've not asked for perfection. I'm asking for organizations to stop applauding wickedness and giving awards to politicians.

Posted by: Cranky Catholic at July 30, 2010 8:13 AM

Anyone who still believes there is such a thing as a Pro-life Democrat is beyond hope. As I just got done telling the NLRC caller soliciting contributions; I'm no longer contributing to NLRC or any other PAC that continues to endorse Democrats for political office because of their repeated and continued betrayals. It's indisputably clear by now that membership in the Democratic party and the goals of the Pro-life movement are mutually exclusive. Until NLRC issues a statement disavowing any further or future endorsements or associations with members of the Democratic Party, more contributions from this household ... not funding the undermining of my beliefs any more.

Posted by: Paul in PA at August 5, 2010 5:01 PM

Paul, you apparently missed NRLC's decisions to do just that:

Posted by: Steven Ertelt at August 5, 2010 5:46 PM

Sorry Steven but those are individual cases where Democrats lost their previous endorsements after the fact of having betrayed the pro-life movement; this is the problem, Democrats claim to be pro-life, they get the endorsement, they get elected they betray us, another Democrat comes along claiming to be pro-life, they get the endorsement, they get elected, they betray us and on and on it goes.

In the same time period as those cases you pointed to NRLC endorsed Democrats in congressional races in West Virginia near me and elsewhere. We should fully expect they will follow Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid's orders when told to do so and betray us as well - it's a clearly established pattern now.

Enough is enough! Anything short of a blanket statement saying that membership in the Democrat Party and the goals of the NRLC are inherently incompatible and no endorsements, none, zero, no exceptions, of Democrats will be made in the future will get me to reconsider my support of the group or any other PAC.

Posted by: Paul In PA at August 6, 2010 6:31 AM

Post a comment:

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)

Please enter the letter "c" in the field below: