Senator Bob Casey Jr. is ready to take on anyone who challenges that he is not sufficiently pro-life, especially over the recent health care law.
Abortion has made major headlines recently in the news lately. The past week saw the March for Life, which annually marks the anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision. Former Senator Rick Santorum made headlines with his controversial comments on abortion and race. The House GOP introduced H.R. 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. And of course, the horrific scandal of the Philadelphia abortion doctor now charged with murder.
“The details of the grand jury indictment are gruesome and shocking,” said Casey in a comment to PoliticsPA. “Those found to be responsible should be sent to jail for a very long time.”
Some Republicans, including prospective 2012 Casey challenger State Senator Jake Corman, are gaining profile through their efforts to respond to the scandal. Corman introduced a bill that would mandate strict oversight of abortion clinics.
In addition to that, Republicans have charged that the health care reform bill, which Casey supported, is a vehicle for taxpayer funded abortions.
Casey has already gotten flak from the pro-life community over his support of health care reform, despite his unsuccessful efforts to forge a compromise with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on the issue.
“Pro-lifers in Pennsylvania are terribly disappointed with Sen. Casey’s vote in favor of President Obama’s health care reform law,” Michael Ciccocioppo, executive director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, told Roll Call. “We know that Casey’s office was flooded with constituents urging him to vote ‘No.’ In the end, on the biggest vote of his career, he didn’t listen to the voters. Pro-life Pennsylvanians have long memories.”
But Casey isn’t backing down from his support of the bill, which he vehemently defends as pro-life.
In an op-ed he penned for the Scranton Times Tribune (“New health reform pro-life law”) in 2010, Casey wrote:
“Providing universal health care reduces the number of abortions. The United States has a higher abortion rate (20.8 per 1,000 women age 15-44) than Canada (15.2), Britain (17.0), Germany (7.8) and Japan (12.3), yet each of these countries has more liberal abortion laws than we do. The difference? These countries provide all mothers and their children with comprehensive health care.
“According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the number of abortions has declined significantly in Massachusetts since that state enacted health care reform similar to what the Congress just approved. As British Cardinal Basil Hume once said, “If [a] frightened, unemployed 19-year-old knows that she and her child will have access to medical care whenever it’s needed, she’s more likely to carry the baby to term. Isn’t it obvious?”
Casey also points to his work increasing funding for adoption and social services, as well as his strong conscience language protecting religious hospitals.
It’s clear that Casey is very familiar with these arguments, as well he should be. Any Republican who hopes to beat him will have to prioritize the support of pro-life voters, 36% of whom voted for Casey against pro-life culture warrior Rick Santorum in 2006.