Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Abortion Coverage Has Become Hurdle to Passing Health Care Reform
Time Magazine: The Abortion Hurdle: Can a Pro-Life Dem Bridge the Health Care Divide?, by Jay Newton-Small:
The point of the Oct. 21 press briefing was to highlight Senate Democrats' outreach to faith-based organizations. Illinois's Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, spoke approvingly about all the policy areas that religious leaders have been working on with Democrats before adding, "And not just on negative issues like abortion." Across the room, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, a pro-life Catholic, listened in silence. A few minutes later, a reporter asked his opinion on abortion coverage in the Senate version of health reform. "We want to make sure that there is no federal funding of abortion," began Casey, but Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow quickly cut him off.
"We do not have funding for abortion services in these bills," she said. "Senator Casey doesn't need to worry about it. He can vote for health reform." (Read "Understanding the Health Care Debate: Your Indispensable Guide.")
Casey smiled patiently but stood his ground. "We need more work done on this," he said.
Shaking her head, Stabenow jumped in again. "This health care debate is not about changing current policy on abortion," she said. "There is no funding for abortion. So there should be no problem." Unfortunately for Stabenow and other Democrats, in the month since that meeting, abortion has become very much a problem — if not the biggest hurdle — in passing health care reform. . . .