What now?

Guest commentary by Johanna Dasteel

It is hard to believe. Many of us are still pinching ourselves, hoping that it was only a dream or, rather, a nightmare, but the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as “the Senate bill” is now law. We now stand face to face with a brave new America, home of a nationalized health care system complete with taxpayer-financed murder, most commonly committed by surgical and medical abortions. Not only does brave new America, under this law, usurp our personal responsibilities to charitably care for our neighbors but a few other dastardly delinquencies will also be carried out under its dominion:

  1. It gives Planned Parenthood the financial boost it has been posturing to receive for decades, essentially making it the government family planning agency. STOPP National Director Rita Diller outlined the financial (and deadly) boon in her March 26 commentary entitled “Planned Parenthood’s Obamacare Grand Slam.”
  2. It funds abortifacient contraceptives through the new insurance option.
  3. It does not provide any conscience protection for health care providers, insurance companies or taxpayers with moral objections to providing and funding fatal assaults on vulnerable human beings, particularly the preborn (medical, surgical and chemical abortions, human fetal research, fertility “treatments”), infirm (severely mentally and physically handicapped, people artificially aided with food and hydration) and elderly.
  4. Building on the stimulus package’s health information technology, it will use a cost-efficiency model of health care to determine the course of treatments for U.S. citizens—an affront to the dignity of the human person, especially the vulnerable infirm and elderly.
  5. And worst of all, it directly funds abortions; notwithstanding the executive order that merely reiterates the language of the health care law, so now those who did not fit in the “status quo” of the traditional abortion funding bans on Capitol Hill will also face taxpayer-funded deaths. 

While some in the pro-life movement talked about upholding the “status quo,” Denver’s Archbishop Chaput instead discussed the “minimum moral standards” necessary for Catholic support of the Senate health care bill in his March 17 column for the Denver Catholic Register :

It does not meet minimum moral standards in at least three important areas: the exclusion of abortion funding and services; adequate conscience protections for health-care professionals and institutions; and the inclusion of immigrants.

Archbishop Chaput’s message fell on the deaf ears of Catholics in the House of Representatives, and, worse, what Archbishop Chaput articulated as the Catholic Church’s “minimum moral standards” are not even met by the “status quo”:


  • America funds Planned Parenthood, but this occurred even before the passage of HR 3590. Every cosponsor of Rep. Mike Pence’s amendment to the Labor, Health and Human Service’s Appropriation Bill’s Title X, banning Planned Parenthood from receiving any of those grant monies, will tell you that we have been funding abortion for decades. Funding Planned Parenthood is funding for abortions, not to mention the pornographic materials it bills as “comprehensive sex education.” 
  • America currently directly funds abortions that kill children conceived in rape and incest.  Stupak’s language perpetuates this discriminatory policy and maintains this “status quo.”


  • The “status quo” perpetuates the fallacy that mothers’ lives must be pitted against their childrens’, that doctors are incapable of providing equal care to both mother and child, that when a mother’s health is compromised while with child, that it is not only justifiable to kill her child because it tugs at the strings of our empathetic sentiments, but that it is necessary. It is never necessary to kill one human being so that another might live. The Hippocratic Oath, which requires doctors to provide equal care to every person, just as the government is required to give equal protection to every person, is undermined by this “status quo.” Stupak’s language is a continuation of this lie commonly referred to as the “life of the mother” exception.

Stupak’s language, although lauded as adhering to the “status quo”, was clearly not acceptable.  So, why were pro-life groups promoting his amendment, saying that it barred the bill from funding abortion and creating the illusion that it would solve the “pro-life problem?” Of course, his language didn’t survive the process, and now many of these same leaders and their faithful grassroots support are feeling deeply betrayed by their gone-in-the-night hero, Rep. Bart Stupak. 

Unavoidably, compromise breeds compromise, and, aside from the parliamentary tricks used to pass HR 3590 into law, it is safe to say that the support of now-infamous and so-called “Catholic” and pro-life organizations was instrumental in the passage of the final bill.

In the wake of this health care nightmare, American Catholics have been left confused and asking that dreaded question: “What now?”

I offer a humble suggestion; one that stalwart pro-lifers have been calling for as well: A recommitment to our original focus and intent to win back the right to life of the preborn, essentially ending all of the compromises. 

Murder is not negotiable. Lives are not negotiable, nor are they political “issues” with which we can bargain. It is not the role of government to mitigate injustice, but to prosecute and correct it. Until it is formally and legally recognized that the preborn are persons, the prospect of publicly funding their executions will always be on the table and used for political gains.

In a time in which states’ rights are being discussed at length in order to combat Obamacare, it must be noted that there has been a movement afoot for several years now that has been doing just that.

Meet the answer to “what now?”

The human personhood movement has active initiatives in ten states, among them, Amendment 62 in Colorado, to define the term “person” as one that applies to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being. In a time when the federal government is demonstrably turning its back on the will of the people, it is time to reclaim our liberties through our local and state governments. The human personhood movement realized this sooner than the rest of us. I suggest we hop on board and ride the wave of the states’ rights movement so that the preborn, whose very lives are at stake, have a fighting chance.

Let us pray, recollect ourselves and unite on the only thing that can save the pro-life movement: The bedrock principle that every human being is a person, each possessing inherent dignity, and with a claim to certain inalienable rights that we have an obligation to defend, chiefly the right to life, without exception and without compromise. Personhood Now!

Johanna Dasteel is American Life League’s senior legislative liaison.