Life Debate IS Personal

Alan Mollohan was one of the remaining Stupak Democrats, SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser is one of his former staffers.

Brody Mullins reported on the Wall Street Journal blog today.

Abortion Fight: Targeting a Former Boss

To get a sense of how personal the debate is over the abortion language in the health-care bill, take a look at Marjorie Dannenfelser.

Rep. Alan Mollohan, Democrat of West Virginia, in November 2006. Rep. Mollohan is one of a handful of undecided Democratic votes on health care.

Two decades ago, Ms. Dannenfelser worked on Capitol Hill for Rep. Alan Mollohan, an antiabortion Democrat from West Virginia. Rep. Mollohan and Ms. Dannenfelser helped start the Pro-Life Caucus in the U.S. House. Rep. Mollohan was the co-chairman of the organization; Ms. Dannenfelser was the top staffer.

Today, Ms. Dannenfelser is the president and chairman of the Susan B. Anthony List, a political organization that seeks to elect antiabortion lawmakers to Congress.

Rep. Mollohan is one of a handful of undecided Democratic votes on health care.

In an interview today, Ms. Dannenfelser said she and her organization will work to defeat Rep. Mollohan in this year’s election if he votes for the health-care legislation. At issue: language in the bill that could allow federal funds to be used for abortion.

In an effort to win votes, President Barack Obama has promised an executive order banning federal health-care money from being used for abortion. But Ms. Dannenfelser and other antiabortion advocates say the executive order isn’t strong enough.

The lobby has spent the last few months targeting a dozens of Democratic lawmakers who were undecided on the health-care bill because of the abortion issue. Now, with a final vote scheduled for this evening, the list of undecided lawmakers is down to just a handful, including Rep. Mollohan.

Ms. Dannenfelser said the Susan B. Anthony List has spent about $2 million on advertisements and telephone calls targeting Rep. Mollohan and the other Democrats. This weekend, she’s spent time on Capitol Hill in a last-minute lobbying effort. “Right now our job is to get the word out to any one who is pro-life, especially Democrats, that the deal won’t fix it,” she said via telephone as she was walking to meet Rep. Mollohan.

“The message has to be: If you are part of passing this, it will be incredibly painful for you from now until November,” she said. “If they vote yes, we will campaign against you.”

And that includes Rep. Mollohan, her former boss. “I greatly admire him and that’s why I went to work for him,” she said. “But the ones who really have to pay are the ones who have been the leaders.”

Share this article: