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An abortion compromise that's fair

Going into the health-care battle, those on both sides of the abortion issue who understood the urgency of extending coverage to the uninsured agreed to a kind of truce. Neither side would use the effort as a way of advancing their respective positions on abortion.

In particular, they agreed to maintain the 32-year old ban on federal funding for abortion, except in cases involving rape or incest, or where a mother’s life is at stake.

This came to be known as “abortion neutrality” (a rather ugly phrase) or, simply, “the status quo.” Of course, defining the status quo is hellishly difficult. For abortion opponents, the amendment written by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) included in the House-passed health bill is the standard. The Stupak measure prohibits abortion coverage in the public option (which exists in the House bill but not the Senate bill) and bars any federal subsidies for plans that included abortion purchased on the new insurance exchanges both bills would create.

Abortion rights groups were furious over this provision, arguing that it went beyond neutrality because it might reduce the number of insurance plans that offered abortion coverage. In the heat of this controversy, I argued that the abortion rights groups were overstating the impact of the Stupak amendment, that it was “unlikely to have a significant effect on the availability of abortion” because “most abortions are not paid for through health insurance.” Nonetheless, Stupak did go beyond an alternative approach put forward at the time by Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.), which sought to build a solid wall between public and private funds where abortion was concerned but allowed for some availability of abortion coverage on the insurance exchanges.

Now comes the compromise effort out of the Senate that was sufficient to secure the support of another pro-life Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Paul Kane offered this succinct summary of the compromise in The Post:

Under the new abortion provisions, states can opt out of allowing plans to cover abortion in the insurance exchanges the bill would set up. The exchanges are designed to serve individuals who lack coverage through their jobs, with most receiving federal subsidies to buy insurance. Enrollees in plans that cover abortion procedures would pay with separate checks -- one for abortion, one for any other health-care services.

Thanks to Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.), the compromise also includes programs drawn from the Pregnant Women’s Support Act to help pregnant women who want to bring their children to term, and new tax benefits for adoption.

The Senate compromise strikes me as a genuinely good faith effort to come as close to neutrality as is possible. And right out of the box, the compromise was hit by both sides. I draw here from The New York Times:


“We have no choice but to oppose the Senate bill,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood.

“This bill should not be supported in its current form because it would allow federal money to go to health insurance plans that cover elective abortions,” said Richard M. Doerflinger, a spokesman on abortion for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

I am not one of those who believes reflexively that if both sides criticize something, it must be the right thing to do. But in this case, the fact that the compromise makes neither side really happy does suggest that it deserves to seen as neutral.

Historically, America’s Catholic bishops have been among the strongest supporters of universal health insurance coverage. And so as a Catholic who understood why the bishops preferred the Stupak language, I’m disappointed that they are now willing to risk getting no health care bill at all rather than support the decent middle ground that Nelson and Casey negotiated. I think a group of evangelical and Catholic pro-lifers who endorsed Casey’s efforts were closer to the mark in a statement they issued a few days ago:


Given that 73 percent of women who have an abortion cite the fact that they cannot afford to have a child as a contributing factor, these economic support measures are critical to reducing the number of abortions in America, a goal we wholeheartedly support. Expanding health insurance coverage to uninsured women and making it more affordable for millions more will very likely reduce the number of abortions in America as well.


And so I offer three hopes: I hope this settles the abortion issue so we can discuss the central purposes of this bill. I hope advocates of abortion rights see this as modest movement in their direction from the Stupak language, even if it isn’t all that they sought. And I hope pro-lifers who support health-care reform -- notably including the Catholic bishops -- come to see that this bill in no way advances the cause of abortion. On the contrary, it now contains provisions that will reduce the number of abortions, not through coercion but through acts of solidarity with pregnant women and mothers.

By E.J. Dionne  | December 21, 2009; 9:47 AM ET
Categories:  Dionne  | Tags:  E.J. Dionne  
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Comments

An abortion deal "fair"? What if you are the healthy infant whose fate is being contemplated?

There is nothing "fair" about abortion, except that occasionally a woman chooses a back alley procedure that results in herself sharing the fate of her unborn child. Now that's poetic justice.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | December 21, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

One could only wish that your own mother had availed herself of this option.

Posted by: hill_marty | December 21, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Dionne you were raised a Catholic but you are not in full conscience a Catholic. You believe in relativism. What is good for you the Catholic Church must bend to. Not so mi amigo. Remember you will stand by yourself with no one around to say "I thought it was okay!" Then WHERE will you go!!

Posted by: pechins | December 21, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Why is that den of tax-exempt pedophiles and their enablers known as the Catholic Church being allowed to write any legislation?

This is an absolute assault on Roe V Wade, and it completely tosses women to the wolves by giving in to knuckle-dragging misogynists like the Catholic Bishops, Bart Stupak and Sen. "Stern Jowls" Nelson.

It's stunning that a legal medical procedure is being decided by a bunch of zealots and faceless, medically-ignorant bureaucrats physically unable to get pregnant.

The liberals made ALL the compromises with this vile Senate bill, troglodytes like Nelson, Stupak and Lieberman conceded nothing in the least.

But since the Obama Administration and the Democratic leadership feel that malcontents and swine like Nelson and Lieberman are so all-important, no doubt the party will base its "get out the vote" efforts on the conservative and blue dog Democrats like Nelson, because I sure don't see the same number of liberals and union members doing it in 2010 that did in 2006 and 2008.

And have Sens Lieberman or Nelson given up taxpayer-funded platinum coverage of their health care premiums and policies?

Of course not, that's why they're complete and utter hypocrites, denying the same coverage to taxpayers that these elected officials provide themselves.

And if the Catholic church wants to meddle in politics, then yank every single tax-exemption it enjoys in every single state, after all, why should non-Catholics involuntarily subsidize the Bishops' religious lifestyle choice?

Posted by: kingcranky | December 21, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse


and what about infertility treatments?
Most produce 10's to 100's of fertilized eggs..
the righties have no problem with these "unborn children"... thus proving that they are only interested in controlling women.. not "protecting" the fetus

Posted by: tru-indy | December 21, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

E.J.,

It's too bad that there are not more reasonable people like us.

Most of the comments, and, apparently, of the senators, are unable to think rationally for some period of time after they hear, or read, the word 'abortion'.

Posted by: Heerman532 | December 21, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I don't know the first thing about the new health car bill. Ignorance is the operative word here. However, reform is needed, we cannot afford to let millions of Americans be without insurance. We didn't like Social Security now we love it. We didn't like MediCare, we love it, we didn't like Medicade, we love it. It isn't the panacea that cures all but it is a Reform and it is a step, perhaps miniscule but a step now what is indulgent about that? Someone tried to do something and someone did and dared, what's wrong with that? Will it cost? Sure, will it have to be revamps, sure. Nevertheless it is a step and the first trip to the moon we also said, "it couldn't be done." But it was done, right?

Posted by: efeld07 | December 21, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

The only fair compromise is leaving the decision to the pregnant woman, her physician and her closest friends and advisors.

I abhor all those twits who are certain that upon conception the woman has forfeited any right to make decisons and to possibly remain alive. To them potential life is far more valuable than the woman carrying it.

So far as I have noted the birth of the fetus ends any interest these twits have in it. They will not lift a finger to assist it or the mother.

They have done their share by diminishing the rights of the mother and insuring that she must care for an unwanted life as her punishment for daring to indulge in sexual intercourse without their permission.

Posted by: palnicki | December 21, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

You're joking, right?

Making each individual write separate checks for "real health" care insurance and abortion coverage is a humiliating, cartoonish joke. It's the kind of compromise that only politicians posturing on their respective agendas could think is meaningful to either side. Just like Obama's declaration that Copenhagen is a big success, it's meaningless except for use by posturing politicians who are unable to come up with a useful solution to a problem.

I deeply regret my vote for Obama and won't make a mistake of believing he has anything to offer women again.

His token appointments of women don't make up for his inability to deliver on his promises or trade away womens' rights so he can get to claim victory.

Posted by: ephemerella | December 21, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

As you said you do not understand the criticism of the agreement. You are correct abortion coverage is currently extended in cases of "rape or incest, or where a mother’s life is at stake." That will not change.
Under the senate plan it will be an elective procedure. No reason needed. A baby will change my lifestyle is a reason.
In addition everyone enrolled in a federal health plan will have to pay an abortion fee of no less than $1 a month. Call it a tax or a fee, it goes into a federal account and is used for elective abortions. So the federal government is paying.
I hope this helps your understanding of the issue.

Posted by: AllTheNews | December 21, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

The debate on abortion is about controlling women. The Right has no interest in eggs that aren't in a female body and no interest in babies that are born. It's all about women having "uncontrolled" sex.

If they really were concerned with potential life, then they would not make exceptions for rape or incest. Don't these future humans count? But if they don't make rape/incest exceptions then their anti-female agenda becomes too obvious.

I would be interested to know how many children Sen. Brownback, Coburn, and various evangelical leaders have personally adopted (and I don't mean sweet little healthy white babies.)

Why do conservatives hate America and American women? Or is it hate America and fear women?

Posted by: donrus1 | December 21, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, the abortion language has nothing to do with Nelson's support -- it's all because of the Cornhusker kickback as named by Roll Call.

Posted by: bayma1 | December 21, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Dionne,

This article is misleading at best regarding "I think a group of evangelical and Catholic pro-lifers who endorsed Casey’s efforts were closer to the mark in a statement they issued a few days ago:" I reviewed the list of signers. I cannot speak for the Christians but the Catholics on list are not Pro Life have never been Pro Life and never will be. they simply Social Justice Wonks who don't care about abortion, and get annoyed that Pro Life Catholics do care about abortion. They are not representative of Catholic in the pews who are Pro Life. The "Catholics" who signed are Catholic in name only. Please do not portray them to be otherwise to do so is simply misleading and not accurate. They fail to represent any Pro Life Catholic.

Posted by: matthelgeson | December 21, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

donrus1,

The debate about abortion is about controlling human beings--at the very beginning of their lives. Except "controlling" is too weak to describe what's happening.

Kind of like Jews were "controlled" in WWII, or blacks were "controlled" to serve their masters.

Dionne, you should be ashamed.

Posted by: Bluefish2012 | December 21, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Why is is we can put health-care and abortion in the same sentence, much less in the same bill?

Does this sound like promoting health?

Abortion:
1 : the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus

Posted by: EastCoastCommentator | December 21, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

This whole health care end-game is difficult to manage and understand. I mean, Stupak's proposal, which was announced essentially the day the House voted, was fairly straight-forward: anyone receiving subsidies cannot buy a health insurance policy that covers abortions (Btw: couldn't Congress merely outlaw such policies?). The Senate bill seems much less clear.

Having said that -- and as a Catholic who cares about social justice -- Stupak is the one that should prevail. And, Feinstein, Boxer, et. al should understand that we don't want federal dollars going to pay for abortions -- whether directly or through insurance proceeds. People can pay for that procedure on their own. Those who cannot can obtain fee reductions or whatever from the abortion clinics.

In the event that the Stupak measure is voted down in conference, I think we should still push for the bill. It's a good bill that will help insure 95% of the public.

Don't make the perfect the enemy of the good. And, please, pro-choice people, don't tell me that we have to throw out the bill because 20,000 or so women per year won't be able to abort their fetuses without paying out-of-pocket for intentionally harming their fetus.

As for the pro-lifers who would kill the bill because it doesn't do enough to stop the killing of fetuses, I would ask you why you're not lobbying Congress today to ban abortion coverage in all insurance policies. Seriously. Why start now? My hunch is that you want to kill the bill and will use any tool -- from death panels to Medicare cuts to abortion coverage -- to do so.

Posted by: teoandchive | December 21, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

If anti-abortionist believe abortion is immoral then they should work to make it illegal. They would want it outlawed in all cases, even rape and incest, because they believe all fetus have rights. They would make it criminal for any women to seek and obtain an abortion and any physican who provides abortion services would be an accomplise. Both would be subject to jail time. So, why don't they push for criminalization of abortion?

Posted by: pjloy | December 21, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I can't find much difference between the Stupak and Nelson language that should make a difference, even to the Catholic Bishops, who I therefore suspect of simple posturing in favor of the Stupak version, which posturing, is, of course, by definition unprincipled as compared with just saying they prefer it for one reason or another.

And I am sorry, women, requiring that abortion coverage be purchased separately and not by federal taxpayer dollars is fair and reasonable. Roe protects you from criminal prosecution for having an abortion. It does not guarantee the right to one, or easy, convenient, affordable access to one.

Posted by: JoeT1 | December 21, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

The Bishops are quacamole. Abortion will never be universally proscribed, even if Roe is someday overturned. What COULD happen, however, is a reduction of abortion rates to pre-Roe percentages. It would require socially proactive policies and humane supports for problematic pregancies. Bob Casey get's this. That's why he is a better man than any Bishop, Cardinal or Priest...the medieval men in black.

Posted by: RadicalGlove | December 21, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

affordable health care would reduce the number of abortions????? What, but 12 or 13? The cost of childbirth is just a nominal downpayment of the cost of a child. Sounds like when the greenies say everything is caused by global warming even arctic conditions and the only answer is to pass my liberal agenda and institute a world government the US will cede it's sovereignty to...OH YEAH and GIVE ME ALL YOUR MONEY while you're at it.

Personal responsiblity and a return of a thing I like to call consequenses for bad acts, for all participants will reduce the number of abortions in the world. Maybe not eliminate them but it is a step and how many do you need to stop to make it worth it? AAAANNNND we don't have to cede the country or give all our money to knucklehead politicians who aren't listening to us in the first place.
Win, Win, and Win.

Posted by: theduck6 | December 21, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

This is such a bogus argument. Many private insurance companies offer abortion coverage. Therefore, those who are currently insured by their employer subsidize abortion coverage through their premiums since insurance companies' reimbursements are derived from the premiums that the employees pay every month, as well as other insurance profits from employees who support abortion.

Employees do not pick and choose which reimbursement their premiums will be used to cover. Nor do employees pick and choose what kind of package their employer will select to offer the employees. In other words, employees exercise no control over whether their premiums for private insurance pay for abortion. Consequently, someone who may object to abortion may already unwittingly be subsidizing another woman's abortion. Would these self-righteous moralists be willing to forfeit their employer's insurance plan under such circumstances?

Furthermore, the argument against federal funding of abortions because of one's personal objections to paying taxes to fund what is morally objectionable is specious and disingenuous at best, hypocritical at worst. This is illustrated by the distinction many pro-lifers and pro-life politicians make between abortion in cases of rape and incest which they will accept, and other abortions which they will not. If pro-lifers object to abortion on the grounds that it is the murder of an innocent baby, then why should an innocent baby that results from rape or incest be thus murdered?

Finally, I am morally opposed to capital punishment, yet my tax dollars fund executions. I objected to the Iraq invasion, yet my tax dollars continue to subsidize that effort. Can I request a refund from the IRS?

Posted by: indep | December 21, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Nobody who calls themselves "Pro-life" would ever write these comments, posted earlier:

"There is nothing "fair" about abortion, except that occasionally a woman chooses a back alley procedure that results in herself sharing the fate of her unborn child. Now that's poetic justice"

"One could only wish that your own mother had availed herself of this option"

It seems that it is OK to wish death upon someone faced with a difficult choice. Real "pro-life"!

Posted by: jake14 | December 21, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Though most abortions are self-paid, the really sad and tragic cases are very expensive and need to be covered by insurance. Those are the late-term abortions, the ones most difficult to understand if you are reflexively anti-choice, but the ones that are the most painful to experience. Because the fact is this: most late abortions are performed on women who want to keep their babies, but learn they carry fatal health conditions, that the pregnancy threatens their own health, or that the baby will be born with very severe impairments like microcephaly. Of course these things only become apparent after amniocentecis, which is always late. These procedures are complex and require overnight hospital stays. They cost tens of thousands of dollars. And insurance ought to cover this, without question. No-one can know when their wanted pregnancy will suffer such a blow, and the idea of a separate check each month to cover this unexpected (and feared) result is just appalling and tragic. In fact, requiring this kind of segregated funding and planning is just obscene and shows what legislators really think of women. It is a disgrace.

Posted by: 1244lkm | December 21, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

This president is evil.

The Stupak-Pitts Amendment is the only acceptable legislation. Anything less is de facto public funding of abortion.

Posted by: penniless_taxpayer | December 21, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Will RU-486 be covered? Or will only surgical abortions be covered. Maybe Stupak and the Bishops will propose the Monty Python Meaning of Life 'Every Sperm is Sacred' bill with would cover leftover embryos from IVF treatments.

Posted by: MerrillFrank | December 21, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

efeld07, thank you for your comment. I especially appreciate your acknowledgment that you do not know the in's and out's of this health care legislation. WHO DOES? And, WHY should we, what with the public relations operations of all the players involved operating at millions upon millions of dollars full speed ahead to "persuade" us of one thing or another.
You speak to the practical reality: it NEVER was going to be possible to bring into existence reform that actually helped nearly everyone. There is just simply too much money to be made off of illness and death.
To get SOMETHING at all, to help some of us is a major accomplishment. And, you are right, those who feel more secure, relieved, and less despairing will, indeed, come to love this bill.

Posted by: cms1 | December 21, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Reading the plaints of those who see the opposition to abortion as a sinister plot "to control women," I wonder if they view RICO as a nefarious plot "to control gangsters' lives."

Posted by: n_observer | December 21, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

And it should be noted that the Catholic Church and many other pro-life organisations are quite coherent in their opposition to the destruction of in vitro embryos and other unborn lives not in utero...

Posted by: n_observer | December 21, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

No amendment can transform a Marxist scam like Obamacare into an honest bill. Any "amendments" will be just tricks, like the Stupak amendment, to force us to swallow the scam.

As you may have heard, Robert Creamer, a CONVICTED FELON and Obama’s ACORN associate, outlined the guidelines for the Obamacare SCAM in his 2007 book, “Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win.”

Creamer wrote:

* “We must create a national consensus that the health care system is in crisis.”
* “Our messaging program over the next two years should focus heavily on reducing the credibility of the health insurance industry.”
* “We need not agree in advance on the components of a plan, but we must foster a process that can ultimately yield consensus.”

As per Creamer’s book, their main objective is NOT improving health care. It’s to increase their power through the “democratization of wealth” (socialism/Marxim) as per the teachings of Saul Alinsky.
http://the-classic-liberal.com/progressive-agenda-for-structural-change-stand-up-straight/

Posted by: AntonioSosa | December 21, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you, penniless_taxpayer. Obama is evil. But he's no longer our president. He's a dictator.

Additionally, the Stupak amendment was just another trick used by Obama and his comrades to pass the Obamacare SCAM through the House.

Tricked by the amendment, some Catholics (not all) actually believed the lies of Obama and his comrades regarding abortion coverage! Tricked by the amendment, they failed to look at the evil behind the whole Obamacare scam. We should not be tricked again!

Informed Americans understand that, if Obama gets his way, Obamacare will FORCE us to pay for abortions, infanticide (late-term abortion) and probably euthanasia, in spite of Obama’s lies and tricks like the Stupak amendment.

Lies do not change Obama's pro-abortion and pro-infanticide (late-term abortion) stand, nor the aberrant stands of Obama's Health Care Czar Ezekiel Emanuel and Science Czar John Holdren.

Obama's Health Care Czar Ezekiel Emanuel, rightfully called "Doctor Death," would make Dr. Kervorkian proud.

Dr. Emanuel has said that "Medical care should not be given to those who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens." As per Dr. Emanuel, your mother suffering from Alzheimer’s or your child diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome SHOULD NOT receive medical care. http://freedomedium.com/2009/07/barack-obama-appoints-doctor-death-as-health-care-czar/

And Obama's "Science Czar" John Holdren has called for population-control policies such as forced abortions, mass sterilizations, and mandatory population controls. http://www.prisonplanet.com/john-holdren-obamas-science-czar-forced-abortions-and-mass-sterilization-needed-to-save-the-planet.html

Lies do not change the FACT that we are broke and Obamacare will further destroy our economy, our future and the future of our children and grandchildren.

Lies do not change the FACT that Obamacare is another scam to enslave us.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | December 21, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

While I am PRO CHOICE, I am totally against ABORTION being in the same sentence as HEALTH CARE. My tax dollars should ot be spent on ABORTIONS, ths is an example of all the underhanded, dirty deals that are a part of the OBAMA'S administration HEALTH CARE PLAN. There are probably so many PORK PROJECTS in that bill ,thats why its 2000 pages long. I read where DODD wants 100 million dollars set aside for a NEW HOPSITAL in his state cause his popularity is LOW.
This is what these LOW LIVES do best, they use US to apy for THEM. Any of you who think the government OWES YOU HEALTH CARE are dreaming. The DEMS do what they do best, LIE and feed you sugar coated BULL$HYT and you all swallow it. YOU POOR SOULS

Posted by: itscc721 | December 21, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops reaffirmed that the legislation is "morally unacceptable" unless and until it complies with longstanding current laws on abortion funding such as the Hyde Amendment.EJ and his colleagues are prepared to subsidize abortions however cleverly or discreetly the money arrives...if it gets them a step closer to government health care.

Posted by: bowspray | December 21, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

RealTexan1 you are a moron. Your so pro life u r happy to see a mother die.

U r the problem with this debate. Its not that simple. What if the mothers life is in danger? Who dies? This is not black and white. And when and if it becomes illegal and the bodies of those "back alley" jobs u seem to love keep piling up, where will your pro life sentiment be then?

Posted by: Chops2 | December 21, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

If you want to kill an unborn child, you should have to pay for it out of your own pocket. Do these people have any responsibility at all? The pregnancy is not their responsibility and the cost to terminate it isn't theirs either?

Posted by: aswnylaw | December 21, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

The Taliban must be proud that their influence is so strong with American lawmakers and theocratic churches. Stupak and Nelson need to be sent back to Joe Wilson's hog-love farm. We should stop having our policies dictated by pedophile priests, serial cheating evangelists, and women-hostile (except when they're paying for services) Congressmen. We need full public option with reproductive health services.

Posted by: revbookburn | December 21, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

The Taliban must be proud that their influence is so strong with American lawmakers and theocratic churches. Stupak and Nelson need to be sent back to Joe Wilson's hog-love farm. We should stop having our policies dictated by pedophile priests, serial cheating evangelists, and women-hostile (except when they're paying for services) Congressmen. We need full public option with reproductive health services.

~~~

You tell'em RevBookBurn!

Posted by: lcarter0311 | December 21, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

E.J. --
No, it's not fair, sensible or even workable, and states' rights policies rarely are good for vulnerable groups.
You have had plenty of experience understanding the Bishops -- how much time have you spent talking with/listening to Planned Parenthood and allied groups?
Maybe if you did you'd do a better job of reporting this issue.

Posted by: esthermiriam | December 21, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

so, I understand that those who identify themselves as pro-choice and those who identify themselves as pro-life differ on a very fundamental level, however, can we all agree that there are different developmental stages?
I'm not going to cover them all, but let's skip along. The cluster of fertilized human cells is a blastocyst, further along we have a fetus, following birth, and infant, toddler, child, teenager... etc.
One of the previous commenters asked "what if you're a healthy infant whose fate is being decided?" The answer is no. And not to the "is it fair" question. You can't abort a mission that's already completed. An infant is already born and logically, can not be aborted.
If you'd like to take issue with that, I suggest that we call executions abortions... or vice-versa. Or at least we could adopt a common terminology... or a binary one. I recommend that pro-choicers call abortion executions and pro-lifers call executions abortions... just for a change of pace.

Posted by: ntedrow | December 21, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

What is so hard about not allowing public funds to in any way, shape or form cover abortion services? The exceptions being rape, incest, and the mother's life is at stake. Just say it! Abortion is legal, but about as necessary as elective cosmetic surgery. Women certainly have the right to an abortion, but I have the right not to pay for it!

Posted by: rtneiles | December 21, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Congress has only proved with its nearly one year "deliberation" of health care reform that it is a useless and outdated institution. Lets have government by online referendum and send the 535 clowns home.
BTW, if the House doesn't just pass the senates version of the health care bill, its all over, because then the Senate would have to vote on it again and then the House, and every version will be worse than the one before.

Posted by: rkerg | December 21, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

E.J. Dionne:

A second day of defending Ben Nelson? What's up? Were you two altar boys together?

Hilarious and disingenuous, EJ. In return for Nelson's non-cooperation he recieved all kinds of perks, which you should know if you read WaPo.

He is the servant of three masters (excluding us) the "bishops," BIG INSURANCE, BIG PHARMA.

His compensation from big insurance has been posted all over the web, ditto, the contributions of BIG PHARMA to his campaigns and his proclamations of loyalty to "the bishops."

And, so, from his insurance and PHarma revenues will he support all the unwanted children born to teens who aren't prepared to raise them? Some of these children will be born with debilitating birth defects requiring hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical treatment. Will Ben Nelson pay for that? Will he make up the lost taxes we never receive from those teens whose life-long earnings will be forever limited?

EJ Dionne, a disappointing post. Nelson has betrayed this nation. He does not belong in the Senate. As for we, the people, we should stop complaining and start demonstrating our dissatisfaction at voting booths all over the country. And we will, Eugene James. Make no mistake.

When Spring comes, who knows? Maybe a march on Washington....

Posted by: Farnaz1Mansouri1 | December 21, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Step back, my fellow Americans. One side sees a moral imperative in preventing abortion, the other a moral imperative in allowing women to choose.
No pun, but, throw the baby out with the water????
Mommy, daddy and baby will get no insurance unless this bill is passed.
How does that needless suffering and perhaps death fit into this equation.
E.J. is right. Let's get this done and revisit when the numbers are available. If you want "special coverage", I have no concerns about asking for "separate payment". I do that all the time, as we all do.

Posted by: joesolo1 | December 22, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

knew you couldn't get thru an abortion discussion without mentioning the Catholicism angle. sorry to inform you it's of no relevance to this issue. or shouldn't be. your liberalism has been compromised by your religion - again.

Posted by: daphne5 | December 22, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

doesnt rep,stupid look like an abortion might look like.

Posted by: donaldtucker | December 22, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Why is is we can put health-care and abortion in the same sentence, much less in the same bill?

Does this sound like promoting health?

Abortion:
1 : the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus
*************************

Ectopic pregnancy:

An ectopic pregnancy is an abnormal pregnancy that occurs outside the womb (uterus). The baby cannot survive. Ectopic pregnancies cannot continue to birth (term). The developing cells must be removed to save the mother's life.

Now, with the emphasis placed on the mother, it does indeed sound like it's "promoting health".

Posted by: ebleas | December 23, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Step back, my fellow Americans. One side sees a moral imperative in preventing abortion, the other a moral imperative in allowing women to choose.
No pun, but, throw the baby out with the water????
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It simply illustrates the way the two sides look at the issue. One side sees only the “rights” of the unborn fetus. The other side sees only the rights of the mother to control her own body. (The placement of quotes around the first “rights” was intentional, as the rights of the mother are well established; those of the unborn fetus are not.) Both sides oversimplify the issue, when in reality the abortion issue is a complex interplay between the rights of the mother and the child inside her. Those who choose to focus on only one of the two parties involved will forever complicate the issue and prevent and real progress from being made.

Posted by: ebleas | December 23, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

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