And so it begins. The United States Senate voted on Saturday night, November 21, 2009, to bring the health care reform bill to the floor of the senate for debate. The vote was strictly along party lines 60-39. Now the true colors of each Senator will be revealed.
One of the most contentious portions of the bill is that amendment called the Stupak amendment that bans federal funding for abortions. The president along with Democratic leaders will now get their debate. They will no longer be able to hide behind the language of a hundred lawyers. They will be forced into the open unable to hide their true will for the bill.
It is time! Time to see just what the leadership of the US Senate believes. It is time for plain speaking and plain dealing. There can be no deal where this issue is concerned because to deny the fundamental right to life is to minimize all other human rights. Without the right to life guaranteed, all other rights can be taken away in a moment's instance. And don't think they won't be!
Those who support the Stupak amendment must now stand tall and go toe-to-toe with those who would see the amendment defeated and dropped entirely from the legislation. They must insist that there will be no support for the bill without supporting the amendment. It is time for hardball (not Chris Matthews version either!). It is time for such august bodies as the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops to speak up loudly and clearly. They have done an admirable job at this thus far, especially Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia. He has been joined by a chorus of fellow bishops and cardinals in his insistence that no federal funds be allotted for abortion. The chorus must grow more numerous and louder so that the voices of those who support life are not drowned out by the voices of those who have so much compassion in their hearts for the rights of women while denying the rights of the unborn. But, at the heart of this issue, this is a grass roots debate.
It is time for the constituency of each senator to make their voices heard. It is time to contact senatorial offices to let your senator know in no uncertain terms that you will not only not support him or her for re-election if they vote to dump the Stupak amendment but that you will work hard in unseating them. They must know the real concern and real demands of the every day people they pay lip service to every election cycle.
Most of all, we need to pray. Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have in this battle. Prayer is the only way that we can possibly begin to move the mountains of indifference that exist towards an unborn child. Prayer will also enlighten us, guide us and sustain us in this momentous fight. This is it! If federal funding for abortion is approved, there is no going back. Once the funding is in place, it will remain so for years and decades to come.
Those who lie peacefully in their mother's wombs count on us to protect them and watch over them. They are the most innocent of society and, as a result, are the most vulnerable as well. Without our voice they have no voice. Without our prayers they have no prayers. And without our loving concern they have no tomorrow. Pray for the conversion of hearts and minds in this debate so that every citizen of the United States of America does, in reality, have equal rights. Polls show that a majority of Americans now oppose abortion and an ever greater majority is opposed to public funding for abortion. It is time, then, for us to unite our many voices in a unified way so that the lawmakers in Washington have no doubt what the will of the people is in this matter!