Barack Obama isn't the only person in Washington whose schedule has been all discombobulated by healthcare reform. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, planned on staging a "pray-in" at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office on Wednesday, but he's rethinking that now. Apparently the efficacy of a prayer is determined by its proximity to an event; Mahoney said "it wouldn't make any sense to be there all day praying if the vote isn't going to be this week." (He also admitted that there is a "chance that there may be some arrests" at a speaker's-office pray-in, and he didn't seem to want to put his group through that more than once.)
But even though the events most likely to get their participants arrested have been postponed, the delay hasn't stopped activists from making their presence felt. Dozens of blue T-shirted pro-life protesters flooded the Capitol today, praying and lobbying in the halls. The team led by Randall Terry and Norma McCorvey ("Roe" of Roe v. Wade ) presented a Pelosi aide with a DVD that showed mangled aborted fetuses that had been dug out of a Dumpster behind a Michigan abortion clinic. While reporters snapped pictures of a "coffin" full of bloody baby dolls that the group carts around (it made an appearance at Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings two weeks ago), protesters announced their intention to stop paying taxes if a healthcare bill that includes funding for abortions is passed. "Abortion is not healthcare," Monica Migliorino Miller said. "We will not pay for the destruction of innocent human life."
As she prepared to leave the Hill for the day, McCorvey made time to lecture Slate V intern Lindsay O'Neal and me about what we need to do if we find ourselves pregnant: "Don't have an abortion. Go to your mama, go to your daddy, go to God. Tell them you did wrong. But don't get an abortion. You have that baby, and you give it up for adoption. But you will regret it if you kill that child."
Video still of Norma McCorvey by Lindsay O'Neal.
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