What happens now? Democratic supporters of abortion rights need to accept that their House majority depends on a large cadre of antiabortion colleagues. They can denounce that reality or they can learn to live with it.
There is also a challenge for abortion's foes, above all the Catholic bishops who have a long history of supporting universal coverage but devoted most of their recent energy to the abortion battle. How much muscle will the bishops put behind the broader effort to pass health-care reform? Their credibility as advocates for social justice hangs in the balance.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Moving Forward on Health Care
As an observer of the political process as regards health care reform, I'm beginning to see why it's been on the table for so long and hasn't gotten anywhere. Everyone has their pet peeves and issues, which they must interject into the system.
No bill is going to be perfect, and while many of us might want a single payer plan, such a plan isn't going to pass at this time. The majority of Americans want health care reform, they're just not all on the same page as to what that looks like. And thus, whatever legislation that gets passed (assuming that it will pass), must take this into consideration.
Now abortion has gotten into the mix. Perhaps it's because I'm ambivalent about abortion, but I would be upset with liberal Democrats who torpedoed the totality of health care reform over this. To pass this, you have to have conservative/moderate Democrats on board. That means, restrictions on abortion are going to be present. But note, nothing in this prevents abortion, it simply removes it from coverage -- both private/public.
I'm in agreement with E.J. Dionne:
Democrats have a choice here -- they can follow the path of the Republicans and insist on ideological purity -- if they do this, they will follow them into obscurity. The reason why there are so many independents out there is that moderate Republicans have fled the party. To get anything done, you have to appeal to this body -- which is centrist.
Health care reform is to important to let abortion be the cause of its failure. If that means pleasing Bart Stupak, then that's what will have to be done. Somehow a compromise has to be found. The Catholic Bishops will also have to decide, which is more important -- saving lives through better and more affordable health care or preventing an already declining number of abortions.
Let us, therefore, move forward.