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               December 21, 2009

For Thirty Pieces of Pork

by Thomas A. Droleskey


Although United States Senator Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) has sold out his allegedly "pro-life" principles for thirty pieces of pork, the Nelson-Hatch Amendment that he was championing as an amendment to the ObamaCare bill now pending in the Untied States Senate was not "pro-life" at all. Mrs. Judie Brown, the president and founder of the American Life League, explained this in a recent entry on her blog:

The internet is abuzz with statements decrying the United States Senate for its action in defeating the so-called pro-life Nelson-Hatch Amendment to the health care reform proposal. This is the Senate version of the Stupak Amendment. But one has to wonder if anyone has actually read the language. The Nelson Amendment stipulates in part,

(b) Limitation on Abortion Funding.—


My, oh my, what a weak, watered-down excuse for restricting abortion funding! This language is actually an insult to the founding principles of the pro-life movement. But for those who deal in cold, hard facts rather than principle, think about this formula, which was e-mailed to me just yesterday:

If there are 1.21 million abortions a year and 12% of abortions occur because of a mother’s health, 1% because of rape, and .5% for incest, then the estimated total number of abortions for these reasons could be as many as 147,015 babies killed.

145,200 abortions due to health of mother (12% of all abortions)

+ 1,815 abortions due to rape and incest (1.5% of all abortions)

147,015 due to mother’s health/rape/incest

Twelve percent of that number, which is the number of women on Medicaid, would result in 17,640 babies being killed with the encouragement of supporters of the Stupak/Nelson Amendment.

That is equal to the population of Greenfield, Indiana, just outside of Indianapolis.

Quantitatively then, the alleged pro-life amendment supported by many, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Family Research Council, the National Right to Life Committee, Priests for Life and others, would have condemned at least 17,640 babies to death every year. What is worse is that the amendment implicitly acknowledges Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton as morally legitimate Supreme Court decisions by accepting the ground rules set forth by the Court. On its face, therefore, this amendment is fatally flawed, but I think there is another, even more sinister plot afoot.

Could it be that the so-called pro-life amendment tactic in the House and the Senate is really a sideshow designed to distract pro-life organizations and pro-life Americans in general from other serious dangers inherent in this legislation? Is it possible that the framers of this draconian proposal want to shield the public from the deleterious effects it would have on the United States as a whole and all of her citizens?

That’s what one Catholic bishop, Robert Vasa of the Baker, Oregon diocese, discusses in a column he wrote a few days ago:

The Catholic support for the Stupak Amendment, which brought the Hyde Amendment’s prohibition of the use of federal funds for abortion into the legislation, should not be interpreted as a complete support by the Church of everything else in the health care reform legislation. For instance, the proposed health bill continues to provide abortion payments in cases of rape and incest and when the life of the mother is threatened. This is contrary to Church teachings about the inviolability and dignity of every pre-born human being regardless of the circumstances of their origin.

The legislation aims at further developing school-based clinics that provide, as well as appropriate medical interventions, contraceptives and referrals for abortion. This is a completely unacceptable use of Catholic tax dollars. It is surmised that the states with assisted suicide, presently our own Oregon and Washington, will be provided with some federal funds for “counseling” for patients who might be candidates for this “medical service.” This too is unacceptable. There has been a program of federally funded abstinence education and the present proposal abolishes this while funding sex education. These sex education programs generally provide information on “how to” while avoiding pregnancy rather than “why not.” Whether this component is linked to abortion or not, and it probably is, the Church certainly opposes this approach to sex education. There may be some conscience protections in the bill particularly with regard to direct and intentional as well as elective abortion but this is grossly inadequate. Catholic and Christian physicians and nurses, well as all men and women of good will, as well as private or religious health care institutions, need to be free from coercion relative to the so-called “medically necessary” abortions, contraception, sterilization, and other “services” that do not respect the value, sanctity or integrity of human life. Such adequate conscience protections are not currently included.

There are other more global issues that make the health care reform legislation problematic. The provision of health care is done in the context of a sacrosanct relationship — that between the patient and the physician. This is both a personal and a professional relationship and the physician has the right and the need to be free to diagnose and prescribe for the patient a mode of treatment that is morally and medically sound. There is already a degree of interference in this relationship by way of a variety of mechanisms, but the reform legislation seems to heighten that interference. Further, the reform legislation moves in the direction of a monolithic system with many coverage mandates and little option for families to change the coverage provisions of their personal health care plan or to form pools that reward healthy behaviors. Many plans, for instance, are mandated to provide contraceptive coverage and any Catholic family who would wish to have this coverage excluded from their plan would be prohibited from doing so. They are thus forced to pay for a provision they oppose for religious reasons and that would, in this plan, be available to their minor children without parental consent. This intrusion into the heart of the family is likewise offensive.

Needless to say, the legislation is seriously flawed and though there might have been some small sense of victory with the Stupak Amendment there are still very serious concerns about the impact that this legislation could have on the provision of health care in America. It is not expected that we will be able to configure the plan in such a way that it would be entirely consistent with Catholic moral and social principles but we must work to assure, at very least, that we are free to live our faith in a way consistent with our faith tradition. The inclusion of a comprehensive conscience protection clause would go a long way in assuring that freedom.

Bishop Vasa speaks for many of us with his carefully constructed analysis of the fundamental difficulties we are currently confronting. His Excellency sees clearly the problematic nature of an anti-life Congress and administration committed to controlling the health care system by doling out services according to some bureaucratic agenda guaranteed to be anything but pro-life in principle or action.

I don’t know about you, but I would prefer to leave the mayhem, mischief and murder to mystery novelists, rather than seeing them played out in the life-or-death situations that families must face every single day.

Let’s stop kidding ourselves and face the truth of the matter. For many years now, the U.S. government has upheld and supported decriminalized abortion, and thus has been the arbiter of neither justice nor mercy. Let’s pray for a real Christmas gift for our nation: the death of health care reform as currently proposed. (The Politics of Mayhem, Mischief and Murder.)

Although Mrs. Brown and "Bishop" Vasa see only part of the problem in that the whole concept of a government-run is opposed to the Natural Law principle of subsidiarity as enunciated by Pope Pius XI in Quadragesimo Anno, May 15, 1931, and as they fail to realize that the daily slaughter of the preborn, both by chemical and surgical means, is but the logical and inexorable consequence of the overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King wrought by the Protestant Revolution and cemented by the rise of Judeo-Masonry and the anti-Incarnational civil state of Modernity. Nations whose civil leaders do not subordinate themselves to the Deposit of Faith that Christ the King has entrusted exclusively to the Catholic Church for Its eternal safekeeping and infallible safekeeping in all that pertains to the good of souls will inevitably fall into the pit of chaos.

Popes Gregory XVI and Pius IX explained this to us in no uncertain terms:

This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone. It spreads ruin in sacred and civil affairs, though some repeat over and over again with the greatest impudence that some advantage accrues to religion from it. "But the death of the soul is worse than freedom of error," as Augustine was wont to say. When all restraints are removed by which men are kept on the narrow path of truth, their nature, which is already inclined to evil, propels them to ruin. Then truly "the bottomless pit" is open from which John saw smoke ascending which obscured the sun, and out of which locusts flew forth to devastate the earth. Thence comes transformation of minds, corruption of youths, contempt of sacred things and holy laws -- in other words, a pestilence more deadly to the state than any other. Experience shows, even from earliest times, that cities renowned for wealth, dominion, and glory perished as a result of this single evil, namely immoderate freedom of opinion, license of free speech, and desire for novelty.

Here We must include that harmful and never sufficiently denounced freedom to publish any writings whatever and disseminate them to the people, which some dare to demand and promote with so great a clamor. We are horrified to see what monstrous doctrines and prodigious errors are disseminated far and wide in countless books, pamphlets, and other writings which, though small in weight, are very great in malice. We are in tears at the abuse which proceeds from them over the face of the earth. Some are so carried away that they contentiously assert that the flock of errors arising from them is sufficiently compensated by the publication of some book which defends religion and truth. Every law condemns deliberately doing evil simply because there is some hope that good may result. Is there any sane man who would say poison ought to be distributed, sold publicly, stored, and even drunk because some antidote is available and those who use it may be snatched from death again and again? (Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, August 15, 1832.)

For you well know, venerable brethren, that at this time men are found not a few who, applying to civil society the impious and absurd principle of "naturalism," as they call it, dare to teach that "the best constitution of public society and (also) civil progress altogether require that human society be conducted and governed without regard being had to religion any more than if it did not exist; or, at least, without any distinction being made between the true religion and false ones." And, against the doctrine of Scripture, of the Church, and of the Holy Fathers, they do not hesitate to assert that "that is the best condition of civil society, in which no duty is recognized, as attached to the civil power, of restraining by enacted penalties, offenders against the Catholic religion, except so far as public peace may require." From which totally false idea of social government they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by Our Predecessor, Gregory XVI, an "insanity," viz., that "liberty of conscience and worship is each man's personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society; and that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way." But, while they rashly affirm this, they do not think and consider that they are preaching "liberty of perdition;" and that "if human arguments are always allowed free room for discussion, there will never be wanting men who will dare to resist truth, and to trust in the flowing speech of human wisdom; whereas we know, from the very teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, how carefully Christian faith and wisdom should avoid this most injurious babbling."

And, since where religion has been removed from civil society, and the doctrine and authority of divine revelation repudiated, the genuine notion itself of justice and human right is darkened and lost, and the place of true justice and legitimate right is supplied by material force, thence it appears why it is that some, utterly neglecting and disregarding the surest principles of sound reason, dare to proclaim that "the people's will, manifested by what is called public opinion or in some other way, constitutes a supreme law, free from all divine and human control; and that in the political order accomplished facts, from the very circumstance that they are accomplished, have the force of right." But who, does not see and clearly perceive that human society, when set loose from the bonds of religion and true justice, can have, in truth, no other end than the purpose of obtaining and amassing wealth, and that (society under such circumstances) follows no other law in its actions, except the unchastened desire of ministering to its own pleasure and interests?" (Pope Pius IX, Quanta Cura, December 8, 1864.)


The fact that we have contraception and abortion and other evils, including special "rights" for those committed to unrepentant acts of perversity in violation of the Sixth and Ninth Commandments, under cover of the civil law is attributable principally to the false principles of Protestantism and Modernity that have robbed the Catholic Church of her Divinely-instituted right to intervene as a last resort with the civil authorities following the exhausting of her Indirect Power of teaching and preaching and exhortation when they propose do do things--or have in fact done things--grievously contrary to the good of souls. Conciliarism has, of course, made its "reconciliation" with these false principles, making even its well-meaning 'bishops," such as Robert Vasa, incapable of retarding any of the evils of our day.

Thus it is left to the likes of naturalists in the political realm to seek to limit the harm of certain evil proposals even though the best policy is to refuse to support those proposals at all as the more evil is enabled on an incremental basis is the more that it will institutionalize itself under cover of civil law and in all aspects of popular culture. No amount of the sort of "conscience protections" sought by "Bishop" Vasa will make a socialization of the American health-care bill morally acceptable as it is premised upon a violation of multiple precepts contained in the Divine Positive Law and the Natural Law. ObamaCare is simply runway socialism that will transform itself one day into total socialized medicine despite the "compromises" that have been made to assure its passage, which is only two hours away from the time of the writing of this article, in the United States Senate. The income transfer program that is known as Supplemental Security Income (social security) was never reversed. Medicare was never reversed. None of the social engineering and income transfer programs have ever been reversed. ObamaCare is here to stay if it is passed in identical form by a majority of the members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

Even a naturalist who was heralded by some as a "pro-life" "champion," the aforementioned Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, was willing to sell out even his own morally flawed Nelson-Hatch (United States Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah) Amendment for thirty pieces of pork for Nebraska, thereby further contributing to the annual Fed earl budget deficit and thus to the national debt:

We can live with this,” he announced to the group.

And with that, Reid secured the 60th vote for the most sweeping social legislation in decades, all but assuring passage in the Senate this week.

It came at a high cost, and exposed the enduring truth of the Senate, where one senator can hold up legislation and bargain his way to “yes.”

Nelson certainly availed himself of the privilege. 

His objections already had helped kill the government-run insurance option in the bill. He won an agreement that the federal government will forever pick up Nebraska’s share of a proposed Medicaid expansion, a deal worth about $100 million in the first decade, according to a Senate aide. He carved Nebraska’s non-profit insurers out of a proposed industry tax.

And he built new restrictions on federal financing of abortions into the bill, infuriating groups on both sides of the emotional issue and almost certainly touching off a withering fight over the limits when House and Senate Democrats hash out a final compromise. 

Already, a leading abortion opponent in the House, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), is saying he doesn’t think the language Nelson won in the Senate bill goes far enough. The co-chairs of the House abortion-rights caucus, Democratic Reps. Diana DeGette (Colo.) and Louise M. Slaughter (N.Y.), left open the possibility of opposing Nelson's change as well, saying they believe it might be unconstituional — all signs of how abortion might still emerge as an obstacle to a final deal on reforming the U.S. health system.

Nelson – like Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who picked up a $300 million Medicaid fix to ease her into supporting the bill last month– made no excuses Saturday for what Republicans blasted as a sweetheart deal.

“I always put Nebraska first,” he told POLITICO in an interview after his announcement. “But I looked at this through the standpoint of Nebraskans and the country.” 

Asked how much he got, Nelson said, "Most. Enough. I didn't get exactly every penny I was after." 

"There is a difference between holding out for something and holding up," he added. "I was holding out for something to make it better." 

But some Republicans suggested that Nelson held out on abortion to advance the deal for his home state on Medicaid. "You gotta compliment Ben Nelson for playing, 'The Price is Right.' He negotiated a Medicaid agreement for Nebraska that puts the federal government on the hook forever," said Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) 

Nelson started with a list of must-have changes that he provided to Schumer. 

Nelson said some were specific to Nebraska, like the Medicaid fix. Others, he said, would benefit people across the country, like an inflation adjustment to the $2,500 cap on tax-exempt contributions to Flexible Savings Accounts. (Health bill drama came down to abortion.)


In other words the not so "pro life" Ben Nelson used Federal funding for abortion in ObamaCare as a wedge to get benefits for Nebraskans that won't be given to residents of most other states. It's pretty bad when those associated with the National Not-So-Right-to-Life Committee, people who are willing make one compromise after another in the name of realpolitik ("political reality"), are upset with a legislative compromise that permits insurers to create two different policies (one with coverage for baby-killing on demand, the other without such coverage) with an alleged "firewall" to segregate premium payments.

Here is the Nelson "compromise" in a nutshell:

The final Senate bill grants state legislatures the right to prevent insurance plans that operate in the proposed health insurance exchange from covering elective abortions. The changes also require people who seek abortion coverage through the exchange to pay two separate checks each month to their insurance company to “segregate” federal funds from private funds that pay for abortion. (Health Plans on Collision Course, page 2.)


This is how a representative from the Nebraska Right to Life Committee reacted to Ben Nelson's thirty pieces of pork "compromise" over the matter of surgical baby-killing (chemical baby-killing is, of course, well represented in ObamaCare):

Why don’t we have two policies?” Nelson asked. “One with and one without.”

Nelson proposed that every state insurance exchange offer at least one plan that does not cover abortion, and policyholders could choose a plan with or without abortion coverage, unless states choose to ban it. Also, people who receive federal subsidies would need to write two separate checks as a way to ensure that none of the federal dollars went toward the abortion premium.

Nelson asked for a break. He left Reid’s office and called Julie Schmit-Albin, executive director of Nebraska Right to Life.

He spent 40 minutes walking her through the proposal, but didn't convince her. In fact, she was beside herself. Nebraska Right to Life endorsed Nelson in 2006, and rallied around him as he emerged as the lone Senate Democrat prepared to filibuster unless the bill included Stupak-style language.

Nelson described the compromise to Schmit-Albin as “Stupak-plus,” since it also includes tax credits to encourage adoption and benefits to help unwed mothers cope with their pregnancy. She didn’t buy it.

“If this is so good for pro-life, why would Sen. [Barbara] Boxer and Sen. [Charles] Schumer agree to this?” Schmit-Albin said she asked Nelson. “I am personally devastated.” (Health Deal Hinged on Abortion, page 3.)


There is only a slim chance that ostensibly pro-life Democrats in the United States House of Representatives have enough votes to join with Republicans to block passage of ObamaCare, a bill that is laden with so much pork (benefits to the constituencies and favored causes of various legislators) that it might generate a pandemic of trichinosis. We are just weeks away from being coerced by the power of the civil state to participate in even more evil than we have been forced up until now to suborn by means of our tax dollars. Although utilitarianism has been alive and well in the medical and insurance industries for a long time now, government bureaucrats will now flex their own utilitarian muscles and bare their utilitarian teeth as never before as the concept of the family physician, which became an anachronism in the past few decades in most instances, is replaced with overseers that will drive up the costs of medical treatment while at the same time deny treatment to those whose lives are deemed by these bureaucrats to be unworthy to continue.

As I have noted in other commentaries on this matter, we are living through a chastisement for our sins. There is no easy way out of this mess. We are going to have to pray many more Rosaries to make reparation for our sins and those of the whole world as we offer up each of the sufferings of the present moment to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

A nation that is responsible for the deaths of over fifty million children by surgical abortion alone--and hundreds of millions more as a result of abortifacient contraceptives--is not going to put itself back together again anytime soon. This means that we have much suffering ahead of us, suffering that has been ordained from the very loving hand of God from all eternity for His greater honor and glory and for our own sanctification and salvation. We must embrace this suffering with joy and gratitude, recognizing that this is the time that God has known from all eternity that we would be alive, meaning that each of the crosses--personal, social, ecclesiastical--that we are asked ot carry right now has been fashioned for us to conform us more fully to Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Who was born in the cradle in the stable in Bethlehem on Christmas Day so as to re-create us on the wood of the Holy Cross.

The hour is late. In the midst of apostasy and betrayal on every side imaginable, we must enfold ourselves in the mantle of Our Lady's Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel as our shield and use her Most Holy Rosary as our weapon to pray in reparation for our sins and those of the whole world, offering our prayers and sufferings and sacrifices to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Our goal must be to plant the seeds for the restoration of the Church Militant on earth and of Christendom in the world. Pope Saint Pius X warned us what would happen if the false philosophy of The Sillon, which is the philosophy of conciliarism itself, was permitted to spread. Let us take this warning to heart as we lift high the standard of the Holy Cross as we pray Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary:

We fear that worse is to come: the end result of this developing promiscuousness, the beneficiary of this cosmopolitan social action, can only be a Democracy which will be neither Catholic, nor Protestant, nor Jewish. It will be a religion (for Sillonism, so the leaders have said, is a religion) more universal than the Catholic Church, uniting all men become brothers and comrades at last in the "Kingdom of God". - "We do not work for the Church, we work for mankind."

And now, overwhelmed with the deepest sadness, We ask Ourselves, Venerable Brethren, what has become of the Catholicism of the Sillon? Alas! this organization which formerly afforded such promising expectations, this limpid and impetuous stream, has been harnessed in its course by the modern enemies of the Church, and is now no more than a miserable affluent of the great movement of apostasy being organized in every country for the establishment of a One-World Church which shall have neither dogmas, nor hierarchy, neither discipline for the mind, nor curb for the passions, and which, under the pretext of freedom and human dignity, would bring back to the world (if such a Church could overcome) the reign of legalized cunning and force, and the oppression of the weak, and of all those who toil and suffer. (Pope Saint Pius X, Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910.)


May the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary come soon. Very soon!

Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?

Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen.


Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.

Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.

Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.

Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.

Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.

Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.

Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.

Saint Thomas the Apostle, pray for us.

See also: A Litany of Saints


© Copyright 2009, Thomas A. Droleskey. All rights reserved.