Monday, November 23, 2009

Sharon Lerner: Clueless as can be?

Sharon Lerner has a piece in the Nation on health care reform which attempts to create this storyline featuring pro-choice organizations as poor, little babies who got bullied by the big, mean prolifers.
Stupak is even more of an insult to pro-choice groups when you consider what they really wanted: to have abortion be treated as an integral part of health care. Rather than being paid for with dollars that are practically fingerprinted at every turn, abortion, in this view, would be more like a vasectomy--a routine, if personally delicate, outpatient procedure. But hoping not to muddy the overall health reform process, advocates tried, at first, to leave abortion politics out of the legislation. The tack was eminently reasonable; health reform, after all, was a much bigger issue. Why did abortion have to get mentioned at all?
Ummm.... because if abortion wasn’t explicitly excluded from health care reform then it would be included. That’s what happened with Medicaid until the Hyde amendment. Knowledgeable prolifers and pro-choicers are both aware of this. That’s why pro-choicers didn’t want it mentioned. That was their strategy. They thought by not mentioning it, they could make it “an integral part of health care.”
By the end of June, they had their answer. Nineteen Democrats, including Bart Stupak, sent a letter to Pelosi announcing they would not "we cannot support any health care reform proposal unless it explicitly excludes abortion from the scope of any government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan," making it clear that the high-minded effort to keep a fight over abortion out of healthcare reform hadn't worked.
Huh?? The high-minded effort to keep a fight about abortion out of health care didn’t work because prolife Democrats wanted an amendment to keep abortion out of health care??
Though pro-choice and women's groups didn't like the Capps amendment, they, once again chose to be cooperative and agreed to the compromise.
Lois Capps has a 100% pro-choice voting record. Many pro-choice groups support the Capps amendment. No prolife groups do. How is that a compromise?
"It would have been perfect if an anti-choice member had authored" Capps, notes Laura Hessburg, Senior Health Policy Advisor at the National Partnership for Women and Families. Then, perhaps, the public might have seen it as the compromise it was.
Well, why then didn’t any prolife member author it? That’s right - because it’s a pro-choice amendment and it’s not a compromise.

Lerner laments the unwillingness of pro-choice groups never vocally and publicly fought to make abortion an integral part of health care but never seems to grasp that pro-choice organization were trying to make abortion part of health care but were doing so in a quiet, sneaky manner.

We also learn the U.S. Catholic bishop played dirty by “urging parishioners to call Washington and distributed talking points to be thrown into Sunday sermons.” I know. Deplorable.

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