Monday, August 03, 2009

Life Links 8/3/09

John McCormack provides a little more detail into what happened with abortion amendment in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Instead of the Stupak-Pitts amendment, the committee passed an amendment that is being billed by some Democrats as a "common ground" measure on abortion. The amendment--sponsored by Lois Capps (D-Calif.), whose National Right to Life Committee vote-scorecard is 0 for 74--would allow the "public option" to provide coverage for elective abortions and would allow federally subsidized private plans to provide abortion coverage as well. How exactly could this be construed as "common ground"? Congress isn't requiring the public option to cover abortion--merely allowing it.

Last night ABC premiered Defying Gravity, a new show about astronauts on a 6-year mission to visit multiple planets. There was an abortion sub-plot where during flashbacks we discover that two of the main characters had a drunken hook-up and one of them became pregnant. Even though abortion is illegal in 2052 (or in the flashback’s case 2047), the pregnant astronaut candidate is encouraged to have an abortion by one of her fellow astronaut candidates so she can continue her training. Five years later in the present, she doesn’t appear to have a child and is hearing baby cries aboard the ship no one else hears. Here are some thoughts from Todd VanDerWerff at the AV Club:
The show seems to be doing a pretty competent job of arguing against abortion at various points, but it always ends up defaulting to using it glibly. We’re supposed to know one character needs more of a conscience, for example, because she so blithely dismisses it, and the haunted spaceship uses abortion (without spoiling too much) as a scare tactic. Having science fiction tackle political issues is always fun, but it doesn’t feel like anyone on Defying Gravity has thought out too much how they feel about abortion beyond using it as a prop within the show’s universe. (It also doesn’t help that one of the show’s major points against abortion involves destroying rabbit embryos, something even the most hardened anti-abortion person wouldn’t even bat an eye over doing.)

Nashville Scene blogger Jeff Woods comments on Congressman Bart Gordon’s vote switch on excluding abortion from health care reform.
"I misunderstood it the first time," Gordon claimed, according to The Hill.

Ha! That's funny, congressman. Here's what really happened: The first time, Gordon thought he could vote "yes" and the amendment still would lose. In this way, abortion is covered but Gordon doesn't have to go on record as voting for it--a win-win for the courageous congressman. As a Republican Lite Party member in good standing, it's part of the game he plays to trick constituents. Too bad it didn't work out and, after a little strong-arming by Waxman, Gordon actually had to admit he's pro-choice.

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