How The Pro-Life Movement Is Using ObamaCare To Its Advantage

As the battle over ObamaCare has shifted the states, the focus of opponents has been to work against having states set up the insurance exchanges that would be used to implement the system. This is an entirely legitimate approach and under the law, shifts the burden to the federal government. The hope is that the ensuing cost problems can then result in the law suffering death by a thousand cuts. In a previous post at Catholic Vote, I wrote approvingly of this resistance on the part of the states.

But maybe I was wrong, a notion I’m sure CV readers can be easily persuaded of. The reason is this—the pro-life movement has begun to make ObamaCare work to its own advantage at the state level. What’s transpired is this—as states set up the exchanges, they also have the right to regulate them. And in eighteen states, the exchanges are expressly forbidden to cover abortions.

The source on this is not one that’s celebrating this victory for the unborn. Sara Beincasa, writing at Take Part, reports this development and is obviously distressed by it. I think there are a few important lessons that have to be taken…

*There was much talk on the part of ObamaCare opponents about how either the Supreme Court case of last June, or the presidential election in November were “the last chance” to defeat the law. This creative work by the pro-life movement is the reminder of a basic political fact—there is no such thing as a “last chance” in politics. Whether it’s a defeat or a victory, nothing is permanent. The question is how well you roll and take your cause to the next stage of the game.

*The pro-life movement and conservative politics have been linked together since at least the Reagan era. The reason is understandable enough, given the way Planned Parenthood became the imposter holding the Democratic Party hostage. But the pro-life cause and conservatism are not irrevocably one in the same. If there continues to be reasonable hope that the apparatus of ObamaCare can be used to advance the pro-life cause, that’s a greater good than resisting the apparatus itself. This could be the next battleground that pro-lifers and conservatives have to agree to disagree.

The question becomes whether it’s time to make this leap, from resisting the exchanges to using them to advance the cause of basic human rights. This was most decidedly not the intention of the law’s author, so I’m not ready to make the leap based on a single article by one of the foot soldiers for the abortion industry. I’d like to hear from pro-lifers if the situation is really is optimistic as Benincasa’s gloom makes it appear. But in either case, the recent developments at the state level are another small reminder that the pro-life battle isn’t dependent on the results of a presidential election.

Dan Flaherty is the author of Fulcrum, an Irish Catholic novel set in postwar Boston with a traditional Democratic mayoral campaign at its heart, and he is the editor-in-chief of



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