Tuesday, November 17, 2009

the difference between compromise and surrender

I recently received an email about how Sen. Barbara Boxer will go against the Stupek Amendment in the health care bill when it comes to the Senate. So is the Stupek Amendment something to fight against, or is it just a necessary compromise in a Democratic Party that is a “big tent” that wants to achieve one goal that all Democrats can agree on: health care reform?

Jeffrey Toobin’s editorial in the New Yorker is a great analysis of the role of abortion in the health care debate. He explains how the Stupek Amendment will affect the health insurance exchanges that will be set up and eventually lead to insurance plans that will not cover abortion services, which virtually all insurance plans currently do. (I wonder, if the Stupek Amendment goes through and passes along with the current health care bill, can’t it just be ruled, eventually, as unconstitutional? Perhaps, but even so, that may depend on the makeup of the Supreme Court.) I especially liked Toobin’s remark about the lobbying for the amendment by the Catholic bishops, who never seem to be so politically involved in other issues that go against church teaching (like massive incarceration, the death penalty, treatment of the poor, environmental justice, just to name a few of many). You do have to give them credit for being for health care reform; they just want it on their own terms.

But the fact is that Democrats are trying to represent the viewpoint that we need a strong government hand in health insurance, but that those who can agree on that may not agree on other issues, like abortion. Another article, from the Daily Beast, which overall I find flawed, nonetheless gives one something to think about when it comes to “Big Tentism:” with the Republican Party representing fewer and fewer people and viewpoints, the Democrats are in a better position to recruit more people with more viewpoints, and in fact have done this by intentionally recruiting anti-choice Democrats to run for office. So as Toobin and the Daily Beast article point out, what’s the price of this? The Daily Beast article paints it as a necessity to get things done and move on with very big, progressive reforms, while Toobin encourages us to rethink that.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Health Care Bill Does Not Mean Progress

My initial joy over the health care bill passed by the House has waned considerably. We all knew we wouldn’t get exactly what we wanted, that there’d be a lot of compromise, but I thought most of that would be in the form of compromising with insurance companies over profits—not that the health needs of half of the people in this country would be purposefully neglected. It’s not just the anti-abortion Stupak amendment that I am referring to, but the lack of coverage even for birth control. Apparently it’s not just pregnancy that is a preexisting condition, but so is just having a womb.

And why the hell is the Catholic Church involved in writing bills at all, but especially writing bills that that are relevant to women’s health? There are no women in the leadership of the Catholic Church, and it is set up so that their can never be; and I can only assume that the leadership is has no realistic knowledge of the female body, seeing how the body of its most beloved female figure is treated as a magic vessel rather than an actual biological person. This does not make the Catholic Church even remotely and advocate on behalf of women, let alone an authority on the women’s health issues.

Passing this health care bill seemed like progress for this country, and I felt extremely proud when it passed. It made me happy to have representatives who were finally acting on the needs of the American people, and made me satisfied that the Democrats didn’t back down from health insurance reform. But it’s highly disappointing to have abortion yet again be the sticking point in a debate where it doesn’t belong, as well as having a health care bill that gives in to the continued social engineering of women’s bodies.