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Tilting at Windmills

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March 14, 2010

AN ABUNDANCE OF PRO-LIFE COVER.... In order for Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) to succeed in helping kill health care reform over abortion, he needs to convince a bloc of his fellow pro-life Democrats that the already-tough restrictions in the Senate bill just aren't strong enough.

But for those pro-life Dems, mostly Roman Catholics from the Midwest, who want to vote for health care reform, they've been offered an abundance of cover. For example, Sister Carol Keehan, the president and CEO of the Catholic Health Organization, supports the Democratic plan. In a newly-published piece, Keehan writes:

CHA has a major concern on life issues. We said there could not be any federal funding for abortions and there had to be strong funding for maternity care, especially for vulnerable women. The bill now being considered allows people buying insurance through an exchange to use federal dollars in the form of tax credits and their own dollars to buy a policy that covers their health care. If they choose a policy with abortion coverage, then they must write a separate personal check for the cost of that coverage.

There is a requirement that the insurance companies be audited annually to assure that the payment for abortion coverage fully covers the administrative and clinical costs, that the payment is held in a separate account from other premiums, and that there are no federal dollars used.

In addition, there is a wonderful provision in the bill that provides $250 million over 10 years to pay for counseling, education, job training and housing for vulnerable women who are pregnant or parenting. Another provision provides a substantial increase in the adoption tax credit and funding for adoption assistance programs.

Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good has also endorsed the Democratic proposal, and told lawmakers on Friday that the Senate restrictions on abortion are sufficient. This week, 25 evangelical and Catholic leaders wrote to lawmakers with the same message.

And, of course, the Senate language has also been written and endorsed by prominent pro-life Democrats like Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.).

Given all of this, plus the fact that Bart Stupak doesn't really have his facts straight anyway, perhaps it's time for members of his bloc to put some distance between themselves and Stupak's misguided efforts. Some already have.

Steve Benen 1:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (29)

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Again with the "pro life" crap?

Posted by: bikelib on March 14, 2010 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Please stop using the term "pro-life"! Please!

These people are NOT "pro-life" -- they are controlling women's bodies, women's lives, and they have zero interest in preserving anyone's life given their vehement opposition to any health care reform.

Posted by: karen marie on March 14, 2010 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

they can call themselves pro-life...
steve can call them "pro-life"...

i call them misogynistic uterus-slavers...

Posted by: neill on March 14, 2010 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Have these so called pro lifers heard the statistics on American women who are dying during or right after childbirth? It is chilling to see that we rank along with 3rd world countries. Many of these mothers cannot afford health care or check ups while pregnant. What a caring society we are!

Posted by: JS on March 14, 2010 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

These people are not 'pro-life'.




Posted by: jcricket on March 14, 2010 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

For some, "Life" begins at conception (if not before!) and ends at birth.

Posted by: DAY on March 14, 2010 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Many of these mothers cannot afford health care or check ups while pregnant. What a caring society we are!
Posted by: JS

for what it's worth, my wife is a l&d nurse at a hospital that takes a lot of medicaid patients. these women do have prenatal care available through the program but many do not take advantage of it. they come in to deliver never having been seen by a health care professional beforehand. part of it is ignorance on a number of levels — they may not be aware of the benefits they have; some may see giving birth as a routine procedure and believe prenatal care to be unnecessary. for whatever reason, these women are putting themselves and their babies at risk and more needs to be done to reach out to them. and if there are holes in the system that allow some women to slip through without prenatal care, they need to be fixed as well.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on March 14, 2010 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps AVOIDING pregnancy would be a prudent solution.

I hear they know what causes it. . .

Posted by: DAY on March 14, 2010 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

They're not pro some lives if they're willing to perpetuate a system that kills, in one widely circulated estimate, 45,000 Americans from lack of insurance and puts the U.S, according to the CIA World Fact Book, something like 40th in the world in infant mortality, two notches below Cuba.

Posted by: john sherman on March 14, 2010 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Your advice is good, mudwall jackson, in a perfect world, but we do not live in a perfect world. When access to "free programs" means giving up your rights to privacy and/or submitting yourself to dealing with programs that require you to strip yourself of all dignity, you wind up with the situation we have.

If we had universal health care, where medical care was in fact between the patient and the doctor, not decided by insurance company or charity with strings, we'd all be a lot better off.

Posted by: karen marie on March 14, 2010 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a little off-topic conundrum for my home state:

Nebraska's DHHS recently changed its policy towards providing prenatal care for pregnant mothers. Long story short, it is now impossible for undocumented immigrants who are pregnant to get prenatal coverage.

Here's where it gets interesting:

There seems to be a bit of an issue for many Nebraskans who claim to be both "pro-life" and against providing any government services for undocumented immigrants.

What is a wing-nut to do in cases like these?

Posted by: 2Manchu on March 14, 2010 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

You know, 2Manchu, if all life was really sacred to these people, it would not matter whether the mother was legally here. But it does.

Tells ya something, doesn't it?

Posted by: jcricket on March 14, 2010 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Dude, get serious - we're talking about "little brown lives" - they don't count, remember?

Posted by: sparky on March 14, 2010 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

We should NOT concede the pro-life label. We are also pro life. We believe respect for life should extend AFTER birth. We are for maternity care, maternal choice, respect for the life of the MOTHER, respect for the life of the child once it is born into this world. Respect for the life of the woman who is seeking to avoid being butchered in a back-alley abortion. Respect for the life of the mother forced to choose between here own life and the potential life of the deformed fetus she is carrying. Respect for the life of the pregnant who contracts an illness that might make it fatal to her if she carries a fetus to term.

We never should concede the label of "pro-life."
Respecting a woman's right to choose the path her life will take when dealing with her pregnancy is an extremely pro-life position.

Posted by: Dave in DC on March 14, 2010 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Interestingly, Ray Lahood, Obama's Sec'y of Transportation but a long time Republican "pro life" house member, has an op ed in the Chicago Tribune today saying that the Senate language is acceptable to people of his persuasion and that the bill should be passed.

Posted by: JackD on March 14, 2010 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Great reporting, my friend!

Posted by: Insanity on March 14, 2010 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

If anyone has pull to reach Stupek's office, an aide should bring his attention to oped in The Washington Post, Sunday, Mar. 14, 2010 by T.R. Reid. "How health care discourages abortion" is very heavy on facts and points out that the very existence of health care for all lowers the rate of abortions. Medical care and increased knowledge for young women equals less abortions. The international statistics prove it. Isn't it time we joined the rest of the modern world so that Remote Area Medical could focus on the third world and not Kentucky and Southwest Virginia?

Posted by: Kathryn on March 14, 2010 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

Stupak screwed the pooch when he said that he "controlled" the votes of 12 congressmen that were "in his pocket"

Its easy to find a dozen Dems who would kill HCR to punish women, "cool, we get to punch hippies twice"

Even more easy to find Dems who hide under thier desks in fear of Rep attack ads

But impossible to find a single Dem, no matter how blue a dog he is, to say "I obey Bart Stupak's orders, because Im his bitch and he's my daddy"

Posted by: jefft452 on March 14, 2010 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

One more comment on the use of "pro-life"; this term should never be used to describe the anti-choice, anti-sex, anti-female fanatics. It is accepting their framing. Call them pro-fetus anti-child. That is far more accurate.

Posted by: AlisonS on March 14, 2010 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

But Steve, haven't listened to Beck? Catholics are part of this 'social justice' infestation and should be cast out, ignored.

Posted by: JWK on March 14, 2010 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

Funny, I was going to say that 'anti-abortion' is not the same thing as 'pro-life', but I see I'm late to the party.

On the other hand, maybe a learning experience, eh Steve?

Posted by: craigie on March 14, 2010 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

(via Sideshow) "Dem Rep. Lynn Woolsey: House May Pass Senate Bill Without Recorded Vote." What, no one wants to go on record as having voted for this turkey? I see."

Sounds to me like some Democrats are getting desperate (especially Pelosi and Hoyer), figuring that if there is no recorded vote in the House then enough House Republicans, having been provided the cover of anonymity, might actually vote for the Nelson Senate bill in the House to get it passed and on President Obama's desk.

Posted by: The Oracle on March 15, 2010 at 3:16 AM | PERMALINK

They have no interest in "lowering the rate" of abortions. Free condoms would do that.

They are about punishment, and control, and they don't like people who fuck for the fun of it.

Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on March 15, 2010 at 3:59 AM | PERMALINK

Let me add my voice to commenters criticizing Steve Benen for his "pro-life' usage. The people who urge and support the murder of abortion doctors are "anti-abortion". To call them "pro-life" is be a drinker of the sociopath Randall Terry's cool-aid.

Posted by: mickster on March 15, 2010 at 4:23 AM | PERMALINK

interesting how forced birthing is a moral issue of such magnitude for many Catholics that they would deny 40 million people access to health care, but illegal invasion with its attendant mass murder, mass dislocation, and widespread destruction are not, oh and neither apparently are war crimes.

The cognitive dissonance inside their heads is unimaginable.

Posted by: zoot on March 15, 2010 at 5:47 AM | PERMALINK

this idea that authoritarians controlling the state, using trumped-up morality and beliefs can intervene inside a person's body is the most dangerous idea out there. Sure so far its mostly been women taking it on the chin over their Constitutional right to an abortion (and lord knows women don't count), but with rapid advances in genetic engineering and nanotechnology it is upon us where the authoritarians have the means to take it upon themselves to "fix" unpatriotic and non-god faring folk to their way of thinking; to get those who reject the word of God as spoken through them to see the light.

A persons' inalienable right to dominion over themselves must be inviolable in the law and respected by the government.

Posted by: pluege on March 15, 2010 at 6:10 AM | PERMALINK

the government has NO right to offer services to some citizens and not others. Its like saying the police will respond to some citizens calls and no others. The hyde amendment is patently unconstitutional and should be abolished. Women are being discriminated against - period!

Posted by: gak on March 15, 2010 at 6:53 AM | PERMALINK

A couple of comments...

1) To repeat what I said elsewhere, and using small words so that so-called pro-lifers aren't confused, "LIFE DOES NOT END AT BIRTH." From the way that many- if not most- of them oppose abortion, while supporting the death penalty, you'd think that they believed that peoples' lives end the moment that they exit their mothers' womb.

2) As George Carlin once put it, 'did ya ever notice that most of the people who are against abortion are people you wouldn't want to fuck in the first place?'


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