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Susan B. Anthony List addresses abortion and healthcare reform

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

By Eileen Connelly, OSU

CATHEDRAL DEANERY — A small group of area pro-life leaders and concerned citizens braved the bitter cold on Jan. 13 to join Marilyn Musgrave, regional political director of the Susan B. Anthony List, to speak out about the issue of abortion and healthcare.

Musgrave was in Cincinnati as part of a nine-city tour and national pro-life grassroots mobilization effort in the home districts of Democratic members of Congress to urge them to vote against health care legislation that uses taxpayer dollars to fund abortions. The group met at the corner of Fifth and Vine streets just outside the Carew Tower office of Congressman Steve Driehaus.

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Marilyn Musgrave of the Susan B. Anthony List speaks during a Jan. 13 media tour in Cincinnati. Pictured at left is Paula Westwood, executive director of Cincinnati Right to Life. (CT/Eileen Connelly)

“Cincinnati women gathered today to send Congress one simple message — abortion is not healthcare,” Musgrave said. “Steve Driehaus bucked his party leadership to vote for the pro-life, pro-women Stupak amendment last November. Now the Democratic leaders in the House and Senate are threatening to undo his efforts to honor the consciences of pro-life Ohio citizens.”

“On behalf of Ohio women I urge Congressman Driehaus to stand true to his values and vote no on any healthcare measure that includes government funding for abortion,” she said.

In her remarks Musgrave noted that the healthcare reform bill passed by the Senate on Christmas Eve contains the largest the expansion of government-backed abortion since Roe V. Wade in 1973, and would undo the federal safeguards that prevent tax dollars from funding abortions.

“As it stands today, the Senate healthcare bill is unacceptable,” Musgrave said. “The Senate bill would use tax dollars from hard working Ohioans to fund insurance plans that cover abortion on demand. For the first time, Cincinnati area women would be forced to foot the bill for abortion on demand across the country through the new public insurance exchange. This is a stark departure from current federal policy. Today the Hyde Amendment prevents our federal tax dollars from being used to pay for abortions through Medicaid.”

“The women of Cincinnati should not be forced to pay for a procedure that hurts women — not in their own backyard, and not across the country,” she said. “Abortion is not healthcare, and Americans in Ohio and across our great nation deserve laws that honor life.”

Also speaking at the event were Paula Westwood, executive director of Cincinnati Right to Life; State Sen. Shannon Jones of Ohio’s 7th district; and Jennifer Giroux, executive director and CEO of One More Soul.

In her remarks Westwood said that the proposed healthcare bill “is increasingly unpopular among Americans on many fronts, but much debate hinges on taxpayer-funded abortion.”

She noted that a national poll from Quinnipiac University in December shows 72 percent of Americans oppose tax-funded abortion and a recent Ohio Right to Life poll shows that 70 percent of Ohioans agree.

Westwood went to emphasize that the Senate’s healthcare bill “also includes other serious assaults on human beings” and urged opposition to a bill that promotes or encourages assisted suicide through end of life planning mandates or other means and healthcare rationing for the elderly and other vulnerable people, along with containing weak or non-existent conscience protections for healthcare workers who do not want to participate in abortions or other immoral practices and any other healthcare based on ”quality of life“ determined according to disability, dependency, economics age or state of development.

“Protections against these assaults on human beings must be explicitly included in writing within the bill,” Westwood said. “Genuine American healthcare must protect the health and lives of every person at every stage and at every age.”

Among those present for the event were Edward Nerswick of Sacred Heart Parish in Camp Washington, his mother Frances, brother Ray, and 10-year-old daughter, Mary.

Nerswick felt attending the gathering would be a valuable experience for Mary, who is homeschooled. “We came because we understand how important it is to let Congress know that they must continue to defend life,” he said.

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