All the main pro-life groups plus the Catholic bishops' conference have rejected the executive order as worthless. Pro-life groups have stripped Stupak of endorsements and prospective honours. Many pro-life groups feel betrayed, considering that they supported Mr Stupak last year when he was successful in having an earlier version of the bill changed with what they regarded as a worthwhile amendment. Some pro-life groups had warned, though, that the amendment was a half-measure which couldn't make the bill ethically acceptable. They feared that the amendment would actually help, not hinder, the passing of an law with many anti-life evils.
The lesson for the UK from the US health care bill is clear. The Church, and pro-life groups, must:
- oppose, from the very start and throughout its progress, any legislation in which there is a distinct possibility of any individual's right to life being undermined
- not be cowed from speaking out against bargaining over babies' lives, out of a misplaced fear of divisiveness or disloyalty.
- Irish abortion referendum (2002)
- passage of the Mental Capacity Act (2005)
- debate on abortion during the passage of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (2008)
- passage so far of the Children, Schools and Families bill.
Such obfuscation is spread and replicated elsewhere in the Catholic media, by bishops' conferences and their agencies, and by Catholic parliamentarians. Sorting out this problem is a Herculean task akin to cleaning out the Augean stables. We cannot, however, shirk from this task, for the sake of the unborn and the vulnerable born.
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