8:30 pm Sunday, March 21. I’ve been watching C-Span and MSNBC and listening to the debate. It is clear that the Democrats now have more than enough votes to pass the bill (Be grateful Stephen Lynch, maybe the fallout won’t be quite so bad.), but it is not clear that I will make it to the end. A sad occassion for this political junkie!
Some observation. First, although I don’t know why he needed confirmation what is clearly in the Senate Bill, Representative Stupak has gotten President Obama to agree to issue an Executive Order affirming that the Hyde Amendment will apply to this Health Care Reform bill. I think these two reactions as reported in the New York Times Prescription blog tell the story.
Travel notes from Senator Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee who ultimately balked at the Finance bill put forward in his chamber. Tonight, Senator Grassley tweets: “Flying bk DC Sun aftrnoon instead of Mon morn to get ahead of curve on Health/Stupak move “shocked”me I thought his stance wld hv kild bill.” In case you’re not accustomed to Mr. Grassley’s tweets or abbreviations (as well as some of ours in that 140-character limit), the Iowa senator is indicating that he’s shocked that Mr. Stupak would decide to vote for the health-care bill. Mr. Grassley anticipated that Mr. Stupak’s stance against abortion would’ve killed the bill.
Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, has also issued a statement on the president’s decision to sign an executive order (designed to explicitly prohibit using federal funds for abortions).
We regret that a pro-choice president of a pro-choice nation was forced to sign an Executive Order that further codifies the proposed anti-choice language in the health care reform bill, originally proposed by Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska. What the president’s executive order did not do is include the complete and total ban on private health insurance coverage for abortion that Congressman Bart Stupak (D–MI) had insisted upon. So while we regret that this proposed Executive Order has given the imprimatur of the president to Senator Nelson’s language, we are grateful that it does not include the Stupak abortion ban.“
So whatever Representative Stupak’s motivations, it has all worked out. Even though I ultimately agree with Nita Lowey.
Representative Nita Lowey, Democrat of New York, issued this statement a little while ago, reflecting the rather torn views some abortion-rights lawmakers had toward their opponents on this issue. Ms. Lowey’s statement:
“As a lifelong advocate for freedom of choice and affordable health care for all Americans, I find it outrageous that health insurance reform was held hostage in an effort to restrict women’s reproductive rights.
“The underlying health insurance reform bill contains objectionable language requiring insured women to write a check for general health insurance and a separate check for “abortion rider,” going far beyond current and continued policy preventing federal funding for abortion services.
“Although the final bill language is disappointing, the bottom line is millions more American women will receive basic care to stay healthy and prevent unintended pregnancies.”
Which brings me to the agument the Republicans are making over and over again: This bill takes away your choice. And unfortunately enough American’s seem to believe them to make the polls negative. However, they do, like Senator Grassley, want to control women and make the decisions for us. They don’t seem to mind insurance companies making health care decisions and rationing health care. They don’t worry about going to the VA which is definately government run health care. I’m sorry, I just don’t get it.
But, despite all the unhappiness about the abortion language from NOW and others who were much more negative than Planned Parenthood, the bill will pass with between 218 and 222 votes.