Posts Tagged ‘bart stupak’

Abortion and Health Care Reform: What’s Past is Prologue

March 4, 2010

If it feels like we’ve been here before, its because we have:

A dozen House of Representatives Democrats opposed to abortion are willing to kill President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform plan unless it satisfies their demand for language barring the procedure, Representative Bart Stupak said on Thursday.

“Yes. We’re prepared to take responsibility,” Stupak said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” when asked if he and his 11 Democratic allies were willing to accept the consequences for bringing down healthcare reform over abortion.

“Let’s face it. I want to see healthcare. But we’re not going to bypass the principles of belief that we feel strongly about,” he said.

We’ve been back and forth on the arguments surrounding this complicated set of issues pretty thoroughly on this blog, but let’s just pause for a minute to think again about how extraordinary this situation is.  Pro-Life democrats now hold the power to derail health care reform in their hands and, apparently, are willing to stick to their principles.  The broader democratic party–and the Obama administration–have a question to answer: are they going to let health care die in order to pacify members of their party who not only want to see abortion as a privacy right, but as something that can be covered in a federally managed and subsidized insurance exchange?

The decision they reach will impact not only health care reform (a monstrous issue in itself), but also the very identity of their party.  Will they retreat toward being the party of Planned Parenthood and NARAL, or will they continue to move in the direction of Bob Casey and Bart Stupak?   That is, in the direction of those that want to protect both the very young and those without health insurance?

That is, in the direction of a consistent ethic of life.

Health Care Reform is in Serious Trouble

January 11, 2010

Sadly, I come home to find that Health Care Reform is one special election (ironically, it is that which would replace Senator Kennedy) from being derailed.  The story is all over the news, but here’s this from Talking Points Memo:

The new survey of Massachusetts by Public Policy Polling (D) sends a very alarming message to Democrats: Due to a fall in interest by Democratic voters, the race for the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat is a toss-up, and Republican Scott Brown even has a one-point edge over Democrat Martha Coakley.

The numbers: Brown 48%, Coakley 47%, with a ±3.6% margin of error. The election will be held on January 19. Independent candidate Joe Kennedy, a libertarian who is not related to the famous Kennedy family, was not included in the poll. If Brown were to pick up this seat in Democratic Massachusetts, it would surely spell the end of the health care bill — Brown has made it very clear that he would use his power as the 41st Republican Senator to stop the bill.

In addition, the New York Times did a recent profile on the pro-life democrat Bart Stupak in which he claims, including himself, to have 11-12 votes against Health Care Reform in the House unless it has his abortion-language.   And if the health bill doesn’t pass (given that it only passed by three votes in the first place, it is looking less and less likely given that several other pro-abortion rights dems have said they won’t vote for reform if it has such language), he said:

“It’s not the end of the world if it goes down,” he said over dinner. He did not sound downbeat about the prospect of being blamed for blocking the long-sought goal of President Obama and a chain of presidents and legislators before him. “Then you get the message,” he continued. “Fix the abortion language and bring the bill back.”

Alarmingly, it is looking more and more like health care reform failure is a real possibility.   Being unwilling to substantially (and magently) compromise with the opposing party (even on common sense things like tort reform and buying of private insurance across state lines)–or even one’s own pro-life democrats–has a real chance of killing the whole thing.

And if it does, the red/blue-state wars will have claimed another 30-some-million victims.