EVEN MORE COVER FOR PRO-LIFE DEMS…. Pro-life Democrats who want to support health care reform, but are worried about the provisions restricting abortion funding, really couldn’t ask for more political cover than they’ve received this week.

In the latest development, the National Catholic Reporter published an editorial yesterday urging Roman Catholic lawmakers to “say yes to health care reform,” despite the demands of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

[T]he bishops have to be clear that some of their talking points might lead honest observers to question their competence — or worse…. The current legislation is not “pro-abortion,” and there is no, repeat no, federal funding of abortion in the bill.

Meanwhile, writing in The Washington Post last Sunday, T.R. Reid, a first-rate journalist, a Catholic, and author of “The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care.” argues persuasively that industrialized countries that achieve universal or near-universal insurance coverage have a demonstrably lower abortion rate than we have in the United States. It should matter to those who believe in the sacredness of all human life that this legislation will not only provide health care to those who don’t currently possess it, but will encourage women facing crisis pregnancies to choose life. Given the intractable nature of the abortion debate in the United States, this amounts to a pro-life victory of historic proportions.

Not surprisingly, the White House was anxious to tout the editorial, calling it a “very important health care development.”

In the larger context, plenty of pro-life leaders on the Hill have now endorsed the legislation, and so has the Catholic Health Association, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, dozens of pro-life leaders, and the leaders of religious orders representing 59,000 nuns.

Pro-life lawmakers who want to vote for this bill can vote for this bill.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.