An anti-abortion rights group Tuesday announced it will launch a billboard ad campaign pressuring Blue Dogs to halt further compromises on the healthcare overhaul’s abortion language.

The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR) said it will operate trucks mounted with the billboards containing graphic images in Blue Dogs’ districts starting next week.


A photo of the lawmaker appears on the signs alongside an image of a severed hand of an aborted fetus. The message “Abortion is not healthcare” underlines the photos.

"It insults the intelligence of American taxpayers when supporters of socialized medicine propose abortion coverage through government subsidized health insurance policies while arguing that laundering government money through an insured's personal checking account magically transforms public funds into private premiums,” said CBR Executive Director Gregg Cunningham in a statement. 

The campaign comes as the House and Senate prepare to informally merge their two versions of the healthcare reform bill -- which have differing abortion provisions -- next week. Some Democrats remain divided on the language although it is unclear if the differences will derail the bill.

Blue Dog Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) amended the House’s healthcare bill to include strict prohibitions against federal funding toward any healthcare plan that pays for abortions.

Abortion rights groups roundly opposed the amendment, saying it may limit private plans’ ability to provide abortions.

The Senate rejected a similar amendment offered by centrist Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) But Democratic leaders have said that the Senate’s existing language does enough to uphold the Hyde amendment, which bans federal funds from paying for abortions. 

Stupak said last month that his supporters "will find it very difficult" to support the Senate bill. 

The group is targeting Blue Dog Democrats Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.), Chris Carney (Pa.), Dan Boren (Okla.), Gene Taylor (Miss.) and Steve Driehaus (Ohio). All five backed the Stupak amendment.

CBR says the ad campaign will conclude at the end of merger negotiations "whether that's a week from now or six months from now," said CBR official Mark Cunningham. He said the campaign will likely cost tens of thousands of dollars.

The group is known for its use of graphic images to protest against abortion rights. 

This post was updated at 11:59 a.m.