April 28, 2005

The 95-10 Challenge

As I mentioned before on my other blog, the Democrats for Life of America have introduced a new proposal that they say will reduce the number of abortions by 95% over the next ten years. They're calling this the 95-10 Initiative. We haven't heard much yet about the 95-10 Initiative, but several Democratic congressmen and senators have endorsed the plan, and Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) has said that he will introduce the 95-10 Initiative into Congress soon.

My prediction is that the 95-10 Initiative will meet with some resistance, not so much from pro-choice Democrats, but from allegedly pro-life Republicans. I also have little doubt that there will be a massive failure among pro-life organizations to endorse the 95-10 Initiative. Why? Well, there are two reasons:

- The Reason That Will Be Given: Congressional Republicans and conservative pro-life lobbyists will reject the 95-1o Initiative for a number of stated reasons, although I don't think any of these reasons will have anything to do with their real reason for rejecting the proposal (more on that in a minute). They will reject the proposal on the grounds that it would give grants to school districts in order for them to "administer effective, age-appropriate pregnancy prevention education" (most congressional Republicans and conservative pro-life lobbyists have long opposed sexual education in schools); they will reject the proposal on the grounds that it would require insurance coverage of contraception approved by the Food and Drug Administration (congressional Republicans and conservative pro-life lobbyists are currently fighting for the "right" of pharmacists not to provide this contraception, so it would be counterproductive for them to require that insurance coverage include contraception); and I have little doubt that congressional Republicans will oppose this bill on the grounds that it contains too much new domestic spending. President Bush's proposed budget has dramatically cut our domestic spending.

- The Real Reason: While the above three reasons will no doubt be the ones offered to the American people, make no mistake -- the real reason that congressional Republicans and conservative pro-life lobbyists won't go for the 95-10 Initiative is because it won't be politically good for them. Congressional Republicans like having a monopoly on the "pro-life appeal" that they make during every election, and they're not going to want to concede even a little bit of that to the Democratic Party, which is exactly what they'd be doing if they joined with Democrats to support the 95-10 Initiative. Neither are their friends in the pro-life lobby, who have for years been in bed politically and financially with the Republican Party. While a pro-life victory for any political party is a victory for unborn babies, a pro-life victory for the Democrats is political danger for the Republican Party and ultimately for the conservative pro-life lobbyists. Therefore, you can be sure that they'll find some reason not to support this proposal.

If you think I'm being melodramatic, consider that none of the major pro-life organizations have said a word about the 95-10 Initiative, and that there hasn't been any Republican response whatsoever to this proposal. Why aren't we hearing from the National Right to Life Committee on this? Why hasn't Fr. Frank Pavone, the director of the Priests for Life, been all over TV like he is when the Republicans are doing something for the pro-life cause? Where is Judie Brown and her American Life League? Where are James Dobson, Chuck Colson, and the rest of those wonderful bastions of the pro-life and pro-family cause? Not a word from any of them, because ultimately this is not good for them.

With this in mind, I'm issuing a challenge that I'm calling the 95-10 Challenge to all Catholic bloggers. It's meant for both progressive and conservative Catholics, but it's especially meant for those Catholics who identify as conservative and who may have supported President Bush and his Republican Party during the last election. The 95-10 Challenge is a challenge to be bipartisan, or nonpartisan if you will, about this proposal. Simple, right? We'll see. I challenge Fr. Rob Johansen, Christopher Blosser, David Schrader, Jeff Miller, Earl Appleby, Oswald Sobrino, Alexandra and Bryan Baldwin, Richard Chonak, Eric Johnson, Sal Ravilla, John Schultz, Pete Vere, and all other Catholic bloggers to treat this proposal as common ground with pro-life Democrats and to work with us on this instead of being partisanly opposed to this proposal and to us. I challenge them to do this even if the leaders of their pro-life movement, like Fr. Pavone and Judie Brown, aren't following suit. If our leaders will not put aside partisanship for the sake of unborn children, then we must be the new leaders of the pro-life cause and say unambiguously that the lives of the unborn are more important to us than political gain.

For my part, I will continue to blog about the 95-10 Initiative here at Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, and I hope that our other three bloggers, two Republicans and an Independent, will do the same. You can be sure that I will also be pointing the finger at any Catholic blogger who puts up a partisan fight against this proposal.