I wouldn't want to be Senator Bob Casey right about now. He is coming under enormous pressure from pro-life groups because they say the "Pro-life" Democratic Senator has not stood strong on the abortion issue during the current healthcare debate.
Senator Casey got an earful and then some from pro-lifers during a press conference held at the Pennsylvania Capitol on Monday. Watch the compelling video below and read the story from The Hill newspaper below the video.
Sen. Bob Casey's (D) speech at the Pennsylvania Capitol on Monday turned raucous after four protesters began to heckle the lawmaker for his handling of the abortion debate during healthcare reform.
The disruptive audience members -- who police eventually escorted out of the room -- charged Casey had abandoned his pro-life position when he voted for a healthcare bill that lacked tough abortion language.
Other protesters outside lambasted the senator for "selling out" both his pro-life constituents and their Catholic faith, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
"He votes the pro-abortion agenda," one protester, who was not removed from the event, told the newspaper. "He's a disgrace to his church."
Casey has been flexible on the healthcare's abortion provisions since preliminary legislation emerged from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee last summer.
The Pennsylvania Democrat was the primary sponsor of an early, albeit unsuccessful, committee amendment that would have kept federal dollars from funding abortion services. He again returned to the center of the abortion debate in December, when he tried to organize a compromise that appealed to both Democrats and the party's lone holdout, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.).
At each juncture of that debate, Casey stressed the importance of both healthcare reform and its abortion provisions. But his refusal to take a hard-line, uncompromising pro-life stance, or to pledge a vote against a bill that did not include language akin to the House's legislation, angered a number of religious groups, some of which began airing attack ads against him in his home state.
That push back -- in some ways reminiscent of the town hall fervor that greeted other lawmakers last year -- was on display again this Monday at Casey's rally. Still, the senator stressed his pro-life credentials both during the speech and after its disruptions had been removed.
"One of the points of contention was the issue of abortion," he told the Inquirer. "I was one who voted to stop taxpayer funding of abortion."
Read even more here.