- (Photo: AP Images / Haraz N. Ghanbari)
- (Photo: AP Images / J. Scott Applewhite)
President Obama on Tuesday signed a $938 billion health care reform bill into law.
"Today after almost a century of trying; today, after over a year of debate; today, after all the votes have been tallied, health insurance reform becomes law in the United States of America," he said.
While supporters celebrate the historic overhaul of the health care system, many conservatives and pro-life groups are plotting how to retaliate against those responsible for “the pro-abortion” legislation.
Twelve state attorneys general have already filed suits against the bill. They argue that the requirement that everyone have health insurance is unconstitutional.
Meanwhile, Family Research Council Action said Monday it will “seek to defeat” members of Congress from pro-life districts who “voted wrong” on the health care bill. Likewise, the Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney of Christian Defense Coalition said the pro-life community is “highly motivated and energized” to respond to the bill during the midterm congressional elections this fall.
Other groups, including Americans United for Life Action and the American Life League, have called on pro-lifers to “take control again” by working at the state level.
Americans United for Life Action is planning a state-by-state campaign to help states opt out of subsidizing plans that cover abortions while American Life League vice president Jim Sedlak said his organization will try to get states to pass laws that recognize a preborn baby as a person.
“This state’s rights approach will build the momentum necessary to eventually pass a federal human personhood amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” said Sedlak.
On Sunday, the House voted to pass a health care reform bill that pro-life groups say is the biggest expansion of abortion funding since Roe v. Wade. No Republicans supported the bill and some pro-life Democrats at the last minute switched sides and voted in favor of the legislation.
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), the leader of the House pro-life Democrats, worked out a compromise deal with President Obama at the last minute. President Obama promised to issue an executive order making clear that no federal money would pay for abortions.
But many pro-life groups disapprove of the deal, saying that an executive order is not adequate to fix the House bill. They also point out that an executive order can be rescinded at any time.
"We must now relentlessly work for a Republican majority if we are to repeal this disastrous legislation, and that means withholding all support for Democratic candidates," said Mike Fichter, a pro-life leader and author of Viability: What the Pro-Life Movement Must Do to Survive and Thrive. "Every congressional Democrat is responsible for the passage of the pro-abortion health reform bill.”
Defending his vote, Stupak told Fox News, "History shows us that an executive order has the whole force of law. It is just as good as having a law."
He admitted that there is nothing that would stop Obama from repealing the executive order, but he said the option was either to kill the bill and not have health care reform or strengthen language to prevent abortions under an executive order.
"I've always said I want to see health care for the nation," he said.
Not everyone is upset with the health care bill. Several church denominations and Christian organizations have praised the bill for providing more Americans will health care.
The $940 billion bill would extend coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans and ban insurance company practices such as denying coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions.
The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society said the House took a “huge step” towards affirming the church’s Social Principles that declares health care is “a basic human right.”
“For decades, the General Board of Church & Society has worked alongside thousands of United Methodists to achieve health care for all in the U.S.,” said Jim Winkler, chief executive of the UMC-GBCS. “This vote brings us closer to that reality.”
Likewise, the Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good praised the House for passing the bill that allows millions of Americans access to health insurance. The group contends that the reform bill maintains longstanding restrictions on federal funding of abortions. It also praised President Obama for the executive order that will provide “further assurance” on funding restrictions.
The American Center for Law and Justice, meanwhile, is preparing to file a federal lawsuit challenging the health care package. ACLJ’s chief counsel, Jay Sekulow, said Monday the group plans to file the lawsuit soon.