Friday, November 13, 2009

abortion and health care

As you may or may not know, the health care bill passed the house last Saturday late at night. I have mixed feelings about this bill. In my opinion, it does not go far enough, but it is a step in the right direction. This bill can always be tweaked later on. I'm much more worried about whether it passes the Senate. I'd be on the phone daily with my two Senators, but I know they're both in favor of the bill and would vote for it (I've gotten letters and emails about it).

The bill barely passed the House. 218 votes are needed to pass, and 219 Democrats voted for the bill (and a lone Republican). A few progressive Democrats voted against the bill because it was not progressive enough (Dennis Kucinich). But we passed the first hurdle when it comes to health care reform and that's a good thing.

However Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI) inserted an amendment in the bill that would ban any insurance company (including the public option and private companies) on the newly created "exchange" to pay for any abortion related services. There is already existing law that bans federal funds from covering abortion-- the Hyde Amendment-- and that has worked since its interception in 1976. I think it's worked well and is a good compromise on the issue.

I will also admit that abortion is the one issue that I have become more conservative on as I've grown older. It's most likely that I am watching my own clock tick wondering if I will ever have a child of my own. I used to be 100% in the pro-choice camp, but now I consider myself a part of the "personally pro-life politically pro-choice" camp. I'm also very mixed on abortion as a political issue because I know several otherwise liberal people who vote for Republicans solely on the abortion issue. The Democratic party is a big tent (unlike the Republicans who are purging moderates), and they should be welcome in the party. On the other hand, the pro-choice crowd is a very vocal part of the Democratic base, and New Jersey learned a lesson last week on what happens when you do not first mobilize your base.

It is a very complex issue. If the Republicans actually did care about abortion, they would have done something about it when they had all 3 branches of government (2001-2006). However most of the time it's only an issue that is discussed around the time of elections to pander to the church crowds. I personally think the best thing that could be done about abortion is maintain the status quo (Hyde Amendment). This will be an interesting story to watch as health care reform gets through the Senate.

1 comment:

djpat2 said...

Did you know that Stupak also is involved with the C Street wannabe church in DC? You know that church. The one that promotes outside sex for their members at taxpayer's expense? That alone should raise red flags.

And while I am at it. Why are bishops calling Pelosi to influence the healthcare reform? Why is this being allowed?