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A very bad deal to pass a very good bill

PH2009110100391.jpg

The final compromises before a bill comes to the floor are never very pretty. This one, however, is worse than I anticipated. Opposition from anti-abortion Democrats, driven in large part by aggressive activism from the Catholic Church, forced Democratic leadership to allow a vote on Bart Stupak's amendment limiting elective abortion coverage from both private and public insurers on the exchange. It reads:

The amendment will prohibit federal funds for abortion services in the public option. It also prohibits individuals who receive affordability credits from purchasing a plan that provides elective abortions. However, it allows individuals, both who receive affordability credits and who do not, to separately purchase with their own funds plans that cover elective abortions. It also clarifies that private plans may still offer elective abortions.

Because of the limits placed on the exchanges, most of the participants will have some form of premium credit or affordable subsidy. That means most will be ineligible for abortion coverage. The idea that people are going to go out and purchase separate "abortion plans" is both cruel and laughable. If this amendment passes, it will mean that virtually all women with insurance through the exchange who find themselves in the unwanted and unexpected position of needing to terminate a pregnancy will not have coverage for the procedure. Abortion coverage will not be outlawed in this country. It will simply be tiered, reserved for those rich enough to afford insurance themselves or lucky enough to receive from their employers.

The amendment is expected to pass with relative ease. Republicans will join with anti-choice Democrats to push it over the finish line. Once the amendment passes, the bill is cleared for a vote, and all parties expect that vote to succeed. Today looks likely to end with a historic, and important, vote. A vote that is a first step towards helping more than 30 million people secure health-care coverage, and making sure hundreds of millions are better protected from the vagaries of the insurance industry. But Stupak's amendment is a bitter start. It is, however, not the end. Even if it muscles into the House bill, it will also have to pass in the Senate, and then survive conference, before it becomes law.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Alex Brandon.

By Ezra Klein  |  November 7, 2009; 11:40 AM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Next: The "debate" in the House

Comments

Planned Parenthood will step up to fill the gap for women who cannot afford it. It's an absurd and unfair amendment, but it's giving the more cowardly Dems some cover. And it can be changed down the road.

I'm actually more concerned about the immigration amendments being talked about. A lot more undocumented people need to be able to buy affordable health care than women who might eventually need an abortion. And the costs, of course, don't even compare.

Posted by: evietoo | November 7, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Thank you Ezra. You are correct. This should be a happy day. Unfortunately this legislation will be passed at the expense of women's health, as these things always seem to go.

Posted by: lasdc | November 7, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I think chances of Stupak Amendment sticking in the final bill and becoming a law are high. Church and Conservative Dems will be foolish to concede grounds on that once the victory is obtained.

Personally I am Neanderthal, so not that upset about this and accept this as one more bad compromise we have to accept.

Overall it seems Pelosi is all set for either tomorrow or Monday her 'big smile' with a fist raised photo splashed all over the world. On vote execution, she has been a remarkable Speaker; classic hall mark of a standard bearer of American House Democracy. She is not going to allow to have a black mark on her record.

If it means more such compromises; deals will be struck, votes will be stolen.

Posted by: umesh409 | November 7, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

What is the problem? You don't buy the abortion coverage. You get pregnant and want to terminate. Planned Parenthood will sell you an abortion policy at the door. The insurance company cannot deny you coverage because of the pre-existing pregnancy. You are now covered and go get your abortion.

Posted by: sscritic | November 7, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

As usual, the Dark Age Dogma of the Roman Catholic Church dictates OUR Government.
Why not just install their anti-contraceptive biological and scientific ignoramus leader as Secy of Human Health and Welfare?

Posted by: lufrank1 | November 7, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Pretty ironic that after 8 years of "pro life" Republican rule, it took the Dems having control of the House, Senate and the White House before any further restrictions on abortion are enacted into law. I hope all of the "pro life" groups remember this come next election time.

Posted by: atlliberal | November 7, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Ezra: what is the problem? BY LAW, Federal funds are forbidden to be used for abortions. And as a woman, I tell you that they are right. If abortion is a "private" matter, the way to terminate it has to be consistent with the claim. It is your private matter, then you finish it with your private means, meaning you pay for it from your own pocket, your boyfriend/ husband offers to help, or simply charge it to your private insurance. Or it is a "private" matter when it is convinient to fit the rhetoric of the pro-choice establishment as a way to gain the female vote?

Posted by: cristina1999us | November 7, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,
Abortion is currently affordable only for those that have it covered in private plans, employer plans, or pay on their own.
Maintaining 30-year restrictions on the federal funding of abortion does nothing to prevent the people from paying for their own abortions, but stops forcing taxpayer money to subsidize Planned Parenthood and the destruction of life.

Posted by: cprferry | November 7, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

There aren't many Dems with the guts to vote for children, so this is a glimmer of hope. Oh yes, and BTW, "pro-choice" is anti-child, period. Any one who believes in some form of God, who doesn't think life begins at conception, is loopy. There's no other logical - or moral - option. So all you pro-killing-unborn-children panderers out there, please know the Truth. Or would you recognize it? Must be Peter Singer fans ...

Posted by: LT369 | November 7, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why you are so negative on the possibility of buying separate abortion coverage. Hopefully, it could be sold as a policy "option" or "rider" with a separate premium just as I buy 5 or 6 forms of optional coverage on my homeowners policy ("replacement cost" coverage etc). I realize the number of people who may have the foresight to purchase it could be limited, but I see nothing wrong with treating people as adults who must be expected to make such decisions for themselves.

Posted by: BTinSF | November 7, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

BAD Church! What right do you have to be activist and influence what "we" do? Just because "we" believe in diversity, that doesn't mean there are no limits to what "we" will allow you to do. BAD Church!

Posted by: dennis10 | November 7, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"Anti-choice," "anti-abortion," so terrible to spoil the boondoggle of a health bill with pro-life language. Fine, Ezra, if you want to rejoice over the right to kill children. But it's morally perverse to mourn just because the majority of us who oppose killing kids, don't want our tax money to pay for the murder of the innocents. So have your budget-busting buffoonery, but without the butchery.

Posted by: joneu316 | November 7, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Thank GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: dlb5 | November 7, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Why cn't people just read and know about their country. THe dems have had the majority in both houses for 2 years during the last (lame duck) term of an unpopular President who received no help from a hostile press.
"Pretty ironic that after 8 years of "pro life" Republican rule, it took the Dems having control of the House, Senate and the White House before any further restrictions on abortion are enacted into law. I hope all of the "pro life" groups remember this come next election time."
YOu can not even imagine how wonderful it will to vote ALL of these people out except for a few brave and courageous ones. YES..IT WILL be pay back for what has been done to our country but it will be voting FOR good candidates and getting rid of all the lead weight. By then all of the "main stream media" will be out of business too.

Posted by: dlb5 | November 7, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Article in 2006

Nov . 9, 2006
"Democrats wrested control of the Senate from Republicans Wednesday with an upset victory in Virginia, giving the party complete domination of Capitol Hill for the first time since 1994."

Posted by: dlb5 | November 7, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Look at Guttmacher's abortion statistics. If they are true, around 75% of abortions are paid for directly by the participants. Less than 20% are billed to insurance. Since the procedure costs around $500 on average, people who think they are at risk of needing it can put the money aside.

I don't mind paying taxes for others to have healthcare (not that this bill will really do that for everyone), but I don't want to be funding the ludicrous number of abortions which happen in this country. 1,000,000+ terminations per year is a serious social disease, not social progress. People need to learn about contraception and take it more seriously.

Posted by: Matthew_DC | November 7, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

As unhappy as I am with over this mingling of church and state, I do not see how much has changed. I worked for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for fifteen years, with wonderful healthcare coverage, but had I chosen to have an abortion, I would have had to pay for it myself. How many people have had abortion coverage in the past? Presently, I am far more concerned about healthcare coverage for 47 million uninsured people, particularly since I am one of them.

Posted by: speamerfam | November 7, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

The only reason I can see for putting this in at the last minute is the outcry from pro-choice Democrats. I think most people saw it coming.

While I strongly disagree with the pro-life crowd, many of them take that position because they believe that human life begins at conception.

If we expected them to go along with anything that spends tax dollars to pay for abortion, we were simply fooling ourselves.

Many of us have taken the position that our tax dollars shouldn't go to things we strongly disagree with. How many have complained loud and long about our tax dollars going to wars and to multinational corporations? How many have strongly urged our Representatives to vote against bills funding programs we object to?

Sometimes, we even win those arguments.

The pro-life crowd has the votes to say "my tax money isn't going to pay for abortions". They see abortion as murder, and will galvanize themselves against it.

That leaves us with two choices. We can accept the restriction and get a bill passed or we can sink health care reform for another generation.

If we allow the bill to die, we still don't win, as there won't be any public funding for any health care, including family planning.

Or, we can swallow this, get the bill passed, and make a donation to Planned Parenthood to help poor women that need help.

And getting the bill passed actually helps women's health organizations by taking some of the burden of providing pre-natal care off of their shoulders. (Planned Parenthood, after all, doesn't just end pregnancies. If a woman wants to give birth, they help there, too.)

So, what's it going to be? A flawed bill that does a lot of good, or no bill for another generation?

Posted by: jbarelli | November 7, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Shameful -- again, those who are vulnerable pay the price.

Instead of setting the stage for getting rid of Hyde, this has terrible potential to expand and further deny access to needed, legal, medical procedure to poor women, and with the implied support of our president.

And more shame to those who can't even claim deep belief, however they justify imposing it on others, but just fear for their own careers.

Posted by: esthermiriam | November 7, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"What right do you have to be activist and influence what "we" do?"

What right do non-profits PP, NARAL and HRC have?

Posted by: cprferry | November 7, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I will be interested to see if this cuts any ice with pro-life leaders. Will the bishops or evangelical leaders stand up now and help us pass it? What do Dems get for crossing their base to give the conservatives what they wanted most? My guess is, not much.

Posted by: Sophomore | November 7, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Many bishops, sisters and lay leaders have supported health care reform efforts, but refused to make any motion until significant protection from abortion was included.

Posted by: cprferry | November 7, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

'Sophomore' - if these provisions remain intact I believe at least Roman Catholic Church will come out backing this bill.

No matter how much wonkery Ezra does, no matter how much blog commenting I do or others urging fiscal soundness; when the Church comes forward and back this bill; bets are off. I do not see even in today's times how a President or Congress (Dem or Republican, does not matter) would not like to have such a strong wind behind their backs to propel them fast forward.

Influence of Church cannot be undermined. In this HCR bill year long saga, this is another interesting twist - giving pro-life people what they want so as they are 'locked' into it and more than that they even have a vested interest in seeing it passed.

Quite dramatic.

Pelosi is Roman Catholic even though she is strong pro-abortion. For Church, how sweet - that wayward, lost child finally coming back home and delivering.

So there is no surprise in that sense.

Posted by: umesh409 | November 7, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Wow, who knew so many mouth-breathers read Ezra? Anyone who calls taking RU-486 "butchery" or "baby killing" really needs to get back on their meds.

Posted by: AZProgressive | November 7, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

umesh409 - I'll believe it when I see it. The Catholic and fundamentalist Protestant churches have, for a long time now, spoken very loudly about abortion and homosexuality while whispering softly about every other moral issue.

Posted by: Sophomore | November 7, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

There are two things here - as Andrew Sullivan points on his blog, Roman Catholic Church has always backed Universal Health Care on the basis of caring poor. That is their strong moral suit and a solid moral case all in all. Growing up in India with all those missionary schools, hospitals and Mother Teresa; I have seen the power of that moral force and what it achieves. For all bad things associated with Church, this is one of their sterling achievements - caring for down trodden. In India it gets otherwise highlighted against castism of my religion where down caste poor do not get basic care on so many occasions. But that is for another time.

The other equally important part is which is the fastest growing constituency of American electorate? Roman Catholic Hispanics. I just don’t see in the world any chance Hispanics turning their back on something what their Church would recommend. I agree the Hispanic Congressional caucus is locked for another important aspect - care for illegal (again Church backs that); which lot of Conservatives would oppose.

Fiscally making judgments about this bill in some sense is a rational game, easy game; even though it is complex. However, making judgments about this bill for its political content; game is not that simple.

For example, Andrew Sullivan, the leading gay activist (who is receiving so many political defeats in Obama reign) backs anti-abortion measures and agrees with the Church there.

Personally, I am agnostic; not much of an opinion and for illegal immigrants, probably more towards liberal side since the case is humane. Being myself an immigrant, I would like to see this country legalize those who have been here due to forced circumstances (after paying legal dues and humane punishment) and offer them minimum health care. Just a plain, simple humanitarian case there; even at the cost fiscal imprudence.

In economic framework, I prefer this country not go on the route of Japan, Russia and Italy; where decreasing population makes the growth inherently difficult. In that sense, all policies which increase population growth (anti-abortion and immigration) can be looked positively too.

Posted by: umesh409 | November 7, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

New hurtful restrictions on abortion aside, this is NOT a good bill:

-individual mandate; 2.5% income penalty; no affordability exemption
-new precedent for forcing all living persons to buy a corporate product
-inadequate subsidies not properly indexed to inflation
-industry gets at least $50 billion/year new forced revenue; concessions minimal
-large margin for passage means Senate bhas the upper hand to weaken the PO, add new tax on hard-won employer benefits
-state single payer language stripped at Obama's request

Posted by: bmull | November 7, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

just because the democrats equate a baby with a bowel movement(just get it outta me!), does not mean that i have to get misty-eyed about this development.
B=BM
read what i wrote. i mean really, that's what it is: something that's gotta go EQUALS something that shouldn't go.

big deal, right?

Posted by: fshaffer | November 7, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

It's funny how this one health issue where someone's behavior causes the circumstance is what we are willing to hold the individual accountable to pay.

We let people abuse drugs and alcohol, their bodies, overeat, not follow their doctor's orders and we're willing to pay.

I'd like to think this is the stake in the ground for people to be expected to be more accountable for their actions, but I doubt it will have any impact.

Posted by: RedBird27 | November 7, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,
Dude, do you even read what you write in previous posts when you compose your titles. How is this a "very good bill"? I don't have time to cite chapter and verse to you but I think you have admitted that this is at best a barely adequate bill. Maybe it is a bill with very good INTENTIONS but it isn't a very good bill.

Posted by: michaelterra | November 7, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,
First off, I'm 100 percent with you when it comes to healthcare, but I'm 100 percent opposed to your take on the Stupak amendment. Honestly, I didn't expect you to be so myopic. Remember, Catholics are the ultimate swing group. Catholics went for Obama and the Dems last time, but that could change.

For all Catholics, including progressives like me, abortion is a very big deal. It's part of the overall culture of life that emphasizes the right to life, and respects the innate human dignity of every single person- so universal healthcare is key. Please don't be so tone deaf. The Catholic bishops have been in support of exactly this kind of healthcare reform for ever. Do you want to alienate a potentially major ally simply because of this issue? Come on, we're not talking about making abortion illegal...

As a Catholic progressive who takes a lot of heat from the conservative wing, it frustrates me that my fellow progressives would resort to ugly ani-Catholic prejudice (just look at some of the comments).

Posted by: morningsminion1 | November 7, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Oh deal with it. So there's no federal funding for abortion. So what? You all are acting like thats the ONLY WAY to get the procedure funded. There are plenty of ways to get funding using private funds. So, no, this is not a bad deal. Its a great deal if you're clever enough to go around the issue.

Posted by: ahowl7mx | November 7, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

The moderators are hungry tonight, but it's worth noting that in the Netherlands, where the abortion rate is less than half that in the US, abortions are funded as part of the ABWZ, through a payroll tax.

Guttmacher makes the point that the main difference between the US and Europe, even accounting for the legal framework and funding of abortions, is the number of unplanned pregnancies. Its general conclusion?

"efforts focusing on restricting access to abortion in order to reduce its incidence are misguided; public policy should concentrate on helping women prevent unplanned pregnancies. Therefore, key policy objectives must include improving women's access to comprehensive family planning services and promoting the effective use of contraceptives."

http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/ib_0599.html

And there's the bind. The Catholic hierarchy may officially forbid artificial contraception, but most Catholics in America clearly ignore that. The evangelical wing of the GOP includes people who oppose comprehensive sex education, and some who even oppose access to contraception.

It's fascinating to see commenters like RedBird27 talk of "accountability" -- because that kind of moral posturing is bound up with a studied lack of accountability towards the educating of young adults to prevent unintended pregnancies.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | November 7, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Right, all this amendment represents is the will of a significant majority of Americans, and of their elected representatives. It is about time that the Pelosi cartel starts acting democratically, instead of trying to bully their will through a hesitant Congress. If abortion is a private decision, then let it be funded privately. If you want to help fund someone's abortion, you are welcome to go donate to a privately-funded grant program that disburses money for killing babies.

How dare you try to take away my choice about what I pay for! This amendment places no new burdens on women seeking abortions - it only prohibits a new tax burden on the rest of us.

Ryan Haber
Kensington, Maryland

Posted by: withouthavingseen | November 7, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Ryan Haber:

The principle you suggest would be fine - does that mean anti-war citizens are also given the right to have their tax dollars not support foreign wars?

Because the Peace Tax Fund doesn't exactly have a lot of traction, and most likely opposed by just about every single pro-Stupak member.

http://www.peacetaxfund.org/

Posted by: jeffro20 | November 7, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

i've debated this notion for years & i've never encountered a single persuasive rational for why my dollars shoud pay for another's elective abortion. i'm pro-choice, but steadfast in my position that not a single dollar out of my pocket should be directed thru public channels for someone else's contraceptive exercise.

my reason? -- i believe human life begins at conception. this is a settled argument in my own heart & mind, but i understand others do not share that belief, so i accept & support the right of others to differ and proceed accordingly.

esthermiriam said: "again, those who are vulnerable pay the price" and "this has terrible potential to expand and further deny access to needed, legal, medical procedure to poor women".

shame on you esthermiriam. set the potential of our vulnerable & poor sisters a little higher. challenge them to embrace a culture of personal responsibility. in this case, it's thru an exercise called "don't get pregnant". if our vulnerable & poor sisters can't escape the temptation of a moment or two of ecstasy & end up pregnant, the consequence is theirs. it's simple -- it's called motherhood. wanna avoid motherhood? teach & learn about contraception. but teach responsible action at the same time. if you got yourself pregnant, be a mother or find a way to deal with terminating your irresponsible pregnancy without my dollar.

i'm not sure how an elective contraceptive procedure (in the form of an abortion) becomes a rightful "needed medical procedure". please elaborate.

if you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em.

Posted by: iggypops | November 7, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

As an Actuary, I see this as hopelessly untenable. First of all, the actuarial value of abortion coverage would probably be negative (all things said and done). Second of all, it would allow us health insurers to use women's health as a mechanism for subverting the laws which prevent price discrimination based on gender (women are more expensive to insure).

From a risk pool perspective, it is perhaps tenable to prohibit the public option from covering abortions, but not to require the rest of the market to partition their risk pools in such a way. It is a horrible idea to have health plans offer certain procedures as add ons.

From a fairness perspective, I don't see this working at all.

There are many ways for abortion opponents to encourage women to choose to carry their pregnancy to term. Making the procedure cost prohibitive is just about the worst way.

Posted by: Valpey | November 8, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Take 100 Moral High Ground points, iggypops. Then sit back and watch as people who get abstinence-only classes at school end up having abortions, and take another 100 Moral High Ground points when you blame them for their wicked ways.

Do you want to lower the number of abortions or is it more important to have people to look down upon from your moral high-horse? That's the question.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | November 8, 2009 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Obama has proved himself to be an enemy to the rights of women. We are not to be allowed to make our own moral choices. I had thought given how he spoke of his own two daughters that he understood choice in some fundamental way. If they had been born in poverty, they would now be dependent of charity if they became pregnant as a result of rape. Way to go, Dad!

As for Pelosi, with friends like this, choice does not need enemies.

As for those who believe that a fertilized human egg has more rights than a female human being, please realize that you are wrong in several counts:

1. Life does not begin at conception unless you believe that the unfertilized egg and sperm are both dead.

2. 50% of fertilized eggs miscarry -- so many late periods result in the loss of what you deem a human child and you never think twice.

3. Some combinations of DNA can produce a pregnancy but not a human body capable of sustaining life.

4. A fertilized human egg does not have a beating heart but a chicken embryo does.

5. Hell is being an unwanted child.

6. Women have risked death throughout the ages to avoid having an unwanted child.

8. There are plenty of living children who are dying while the Roman Catholic Church worships DNA.

Posted by: Respectthe9thAmendment | November 8, 2009 6:47 AM | Report abuse

So why don't you set up a fund to help people pay for their abortions or maybe you could help raise funds to create discount vasectomy clinics in poor neighborhoods? Why does it have to be financed by the federal government?

Posted by: fallsmeadjc | November 8, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

"why don't you set up a fund to help people pay for their abortions"

Why don't you set up a fund to provide people like yourself with erectile dysfunction pills?

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | November 8, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

The Catholic Church is a hierarchy that takes its orders from Rome, regardless of what its parishioners may think of its dogmas on abortion and contraception. It is not there to represent Catholics but to rule them. That is why there is no valid comparison with Planned Parenthood, NARAL, etc.

Posted by: SqueakyRat | November 8, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

tetris opines at the Daily KOS that the inclusion of the amendment is good for the Democrats because --

the political impact of the amendment is worth noting. (I do hope we get to work immediately proving him wrong on that -- let's get Stupack out of Congress before he can torpedo another essential bill.)

and

The only downside [he] see[s] is that it could anger pro-choice supporters who make up an important part of the base. But they should understand that the amendment only restricts elective abortions but maintains access to health (and rape/incest) related abortions. (Amazing, truly amazing -- might anger ... an important part of the base? We should understand. I hope so. There's so much work to be done.)

Posted by: marshallpeaceemail | November 8, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: LT369

"Oh yes, and BTW, "pro-choice" is anti- child, period."

Right. After years of critical thinking and careful consideration, I'm going to accept your opinion as fact because you add the emphatic "period." Please.

I'm curious how you think forcing a woman to have a child she does not want is good for anyone. I'm also curious how "anti-child" (even if I believed being pro-choice was equivalent to being "anti-child," which I most assuredly do not) is of more concern to you than "anti-woman." ?


Posted by: LT369
"Any one who believes in some form of God, who doesn't think life begins at conception, is loopy. There's no other logical - or moral - option."

First of all, there is no general agreement on when "conception" occurs, so that's a problem. Second, your conclusion that any non-loopy (?) person who believes in some kind of God must think that life begins at conception is badly in need of two valid premises, else it's just your opinion. To which you are entitled, of course, but throwing in "logical" at the end is a cheat if you're not actually going to apply logic.

Of course, I don't think that a new human life begins with the union of sperm and egg, but since I don't believe in any form of god either, I can only conclude that I am not necessarily loopy and that my view (that the components of individual potential human beings are always alive, but that they only gradually coalesce and evolve into actual human beings on a continuum) can still be considered logical and moral.

Posted by: LT369
"So all you pro-killing-unborn-children panderers out there, please know the Truth. Or would you recognize it? Must be Peter Singer fans ..."

OH NO! Not the capital-T Truth!

Seriously, you need to acquaint yourself with the difference between facts (also known in some circles as "the truth") and opinions.

I am pro-choice. I know why. I have considered the question carefully from ethical and biological perspectives, and I have courage in my convictions. When you are ready to accept that millions of people (many of them believers in some kind of god!) completely reject your idea that life begins at conception and your equally nonsensical insistence that this view is the only logical and moral conclusion, maybe we can have a conversation based on what you know rather than what you feel.

Posted by: SilSpr | November 8, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Organized religion does not promote either ethics or morality. The zenith in religious hypocracy is the C Street gang of "christian" politicians who practice adultry and homosexual sex. Their operating credo is that they are chosen by god to exercize political power because they are conservarive, christian, white, males and the laws of man and god do do not apply to them.

Posted by: afgail | November 8, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Why should MY TAX DOLLARS pay for the FDA to review medications that I don't take? Why should MY TAX DOLLARS pay for the police department to go after robbers who aren't robbing me? Why should MY TAX DOLLARS pay for clean water in towns that I will never visit? Why should MY TAX DOLLARS fund the establishment of a health insurance exchange if some of the private insurers on it offer abortion services?

Posted by: tomveiltomveil | November 9, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

You are putting a whole lot of weight onto this conference committee aren't you? Remember that the Senate is the "conservative" body in this equation. If Nelson, Bayh, etc... are scared of the public option, they'll be TERRIFIED about stripping this provision. Or, at best, they'll strip this provision to give them liberal cover over REALLY bad weakening of subsidies, consumer protections, etc... I don't think it's possible to see this as anything other than a liberal failure, and Bart Stupak has really earned a place alongside Joe Lieberman and Max Baucus on any liberal hit list coming out of this process.

Understand, this bill takes a big step towards flatly banning abortion. Virtually all liberal advocacy on this bill has been to ensure that middle class people can actually afford the insurance they will be LEGALLY FORCED to buy. The House has now conditioned that affordability on giving up one a fundamental Constitutional right. This bill effectively forces middle class women to choose between insurance coverage and control over their own bodies.

On the other hand, at least conservatives will finally get a chance to try out their "healthcare market" ideology. Lets see what happens to the cost of getting an abortion when it's suddenly restricted to a cash-up-front basis again. Buy stock in wire hangers, I guess.

Posted by: NS12345 | November 9, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

'challenge them to embrace a culture of personal responsibility. in this case, it's thru an exercise called "don't get pregnant".'

By the way, this callous view is roughly a billion times more morally abhorrent to me than the reality of abortion.

Posted by: NS12345 | November 9, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

iggypops writes:

"in this case, it's thru an exercise called "don't get pregnant". if our vulnerable & poor sisters can't escape the temptation of a moment or two of ecstasy & end up pregnant, the consequence is theirs. it's simple -- it's called motherhood. wanna avoid motherhood? teach & learn about contraception. but teach responsible action at the same time. if you got yourself pregnant, be a mother or find a way to deal with terminating your irresponsible pregnancy without my dollar."

Uhhuh. I like how it doesn't even OCCUR to iggypops that men should bear responsibility for unintended pregnancy.

This is really what it boils down to for many in the pro-fetus/anti-woman camp, isn't it? "But we HAVE to make sure women SUFFER for having SEX outside of the RULES! Who would we BE if WOMEN didn't SUFFER for having SEX outside of the RULES?! I'd have to grab my SMELLING SALTS because I would PERSONALLY be so BOTHERED by all the LOOSE UNPUNISHED WOMEN out there! Protecting me from moral botheration is TOTALLY a fair use of government! And thinking of fetuses as women's punishment for sex is an AWESOME, PRO-CHILD way of thinking about children. Children who, incidentally, can rot in hell as far as we're concerned once they're born. Lookit meeeee, I smell like a friggin' ROSE!"

Iggypops, I'd like to know what you think about men. How about if men who have sex that results in an unintended pregnancy have to wear scrotal weights for nine months, of increasing size? How about if they then have to serve in the military for the next 18 years, regardless of whether they had planned that for their lives or not. Sound fair? Because, I mean, how else will they learn personal responsibility? THEY HAD SEX OUTSIDE OF YOUR PERSONAL MORAL RULES OMG OMG OMG HALP HALP CAPTAIN JESUS AMERICA BAYBEEEEE!

Oh, and I assume -- since you believe in personal responsibility and all -- that you're involved in lots of anti-rape organizations? That you are vocal about how the prevailing cultural understandings of masculinity foster rape? Right? You're all about bringing down the numbers of rapes, sexual assaults, and incidents of sexual harassment? Even if doing so is difficult and personally costly? Or do you just think that anytime sex happens in violation of Iggypops' Rules Of Appropriate Behavior, it must be because some b--ch was asking for it?

Posted by: ASarah | November 10, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I cannot help but notice how many people in Congress are calling themselves "pro-life" but in reality are just anti-abortion. Why else would they enact policies that ensure that more and more children end up in poverty? Why else would they make it harder and harder to have a child and still afford a home? They care not a whit for the actual PROVEN measures that would lower the abortion rate, birth control and sex education. They care not one whit about what happens to the children that are born. For them, these are meaningless words. A simple wedge issue to get people to vote for them. That's all and nothing more.

Posted by: jenzinoh | November 10, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

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