Sen. Casey abandons dad's legacy

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Senator Bob Casey Jr. (D - PA), who came to office as a pro-life Democrat in 2006 under the banner that he would continue his father’s fight in pro-life causes has turned out to be pretty disappointing. When asked by the Washington Times on Tuesday what he thought his father, the late Bob Casey Sr., former governor of Pennsylvania from 1987 to 1995, would think of the abortion issue in the health care bill, he answered:

“I have no way of knowing. We’re dealing with something here which is unusual and unprecedented. We’ve had year to year appropriation bills where the Hyde amendment was attached to year by year appropriation for health and human services. We’ve never had an exchange before. Never in American history have we had to face… these kinds of questions are complicated.”

It should be remembered that the Senator’s father was the “Casey” in the notable 1992 Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This case upheld almost all the prohibitions on abortion that he signed into law.

Like Senator Ben Nelson (D - NE) recently, Senator Casey talked about the failure of trying to pass the Nelson, Casey, Hatch Amendment, which would have given stronger pro-life language in the health care bill. However, unlike Senator Lieberman (I-CT) who threatened to not vote for cloture over the inclusion of a public option and he succeeded, Senators Nelson and Casey continue the mantra of “we at least had good intentions, but our efforts failed.” Senator Casey told the Washington Times,:

“I don’t think we should try and accept the notion that the only two options here are what was in the original, the merged bill, which I thought didn’t get it right, and what the House passed that we tried to pass. I was a co-sponsor and only got seven votes. The idea that we would have that conflict and not have a third way to do this or even a fourth way wasn’t the right approach.”

Senator Casey is extraordinarily generous about showering his colleague Ben Nelson with compliments over “improving” the pro-life language of the health care bill, saying,”Obviously Senator Nelson and a team of others, from my perspective, improved the bill we had before us, instead of waiting, as some wanted, to conference and try to figure out a way to get something closer to what the House had, but I thought that it was the right thing to do– to try to get it right to get a good agreement.”

Apparently, Mr. Casey’s “pro-life” barometer of a “good agreement” does not mean much. It looks as if the the Reid bill could still allow public funds to into the abortion industry. My friend Ed Morrissey at Hot Air brings up interesting points on the issue of abortion and what exactly constitutes “public funds.” He posted a video (via Verum Serum) of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebilius and writes the following:(Video and transcript at link)

“What constitutes the notion of “public funds”? If the government forces us to pay into a fund, and then controls the distribution of those funds, are those funds not “public”? Morgen at Verum Serum catches a portion of an interview between HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and BlogHer interviewer Morra Aarons-Mele yesterday, in which Sebelius praises the abortion-funding language in the Reid bill, as it maintains a flow of funds for abortion coverage that everyone — and she means everyone — supplies:”

“It was remarkable how the late Governor Casey stood up to Bill Clinton on this important issue,” former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum told National Review last week. “Here we are again debating health care and there is nobody like him left. Bob Casey Sr. was for national health care. He was a liberal. But he didn’t compromise on his principles just to pass a bill. That’s what Senator Casey is doing.”


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About the Author
Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket, a former Opinion Blogger/Editor of The Watercooler, was associate producer for the Media Research Center, a content producer for Robin Quivers of "The Howard Stern Show" on Sirius satellite radio and a production assistant and copy writer at MTV.

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