Sometimes you just have to wonder if you are stuck in the movie "Groundhog’s Day." Here we are, five weeks later, with the same amendment pushed by another group of congressmen, this time, senators, over the same objections over it being a sexist amendment that only applies to and harms women, especially poor women.
But just as Bill Murray gets a chance to make each version of the same day a little better, there are bright sides to what I can only call debate rerun. One such highlight was democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s bright idea for who should really purchase "abortion riders":
Sen. Mikulski, visibly angry with the amendment, said the very idea of having to purchase a rider for abortion coverage was not only demonizing but insulting to women. She called the language discriminatory and said no woman ever plans on having an abortion. "How about letting men buy an abortion rider for the women they get pregnant," Mikulski fumed. "Maybe we’ll give them a discount," she added.
Much of the attention of the media has been on Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson for pushing the amendment, both while knowing that it likely will never pass in the senate and stating clearly that he has no interest in compromise nor really much interest in passing health care reform as it stands, anyway. Less focus has been given to Sen. Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania, who, although considered as solidly pro-life as Nelson, has made it apparent that he is not only looking for a middle ground to the debate, but that his vote on reform will not be held hostage to his pro-life leanings.
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Mr. Casey has become a central figure in talking to Democratic leadership, the White House and others about how to navigate the potential impasse.
"Sen. Casey from the start has been one of the most constructive players in the health care debate," said Jim Kessler, of the progressive think tank Third Way and a former staffer for Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
"He’s one of the few pro-life Democrats who can talk to all sides, and it puts him in a very unique position. I don’t think it’s just someone that provides cover. I think he can search for language that not every side will love, but they will support."
In the end, although the senate debate was stirred up primarily by a pro-life democratic senator, all eyes may end up on a pro-choice republican one to make the final decision:
Another factor arguing against additional abortion amendments is the fact that if Reid cannot count on Nelson to get to 60 votes, he will have to pin his hopes on Olympia Snowe, a strong supporter of abortion rights. Snowe’s main stated concern about health reform is the public option. But stronger abortion restrictions would only make her less likely to sign on to be that crucial last vote to pass reform. Which is why as of Monday night, Democratic leaders were much busier crafting a public option compromise than worrying about abortion negotiations.
The vote on the Stupak…err, pardon me, Nelson-Hatch amendment should occur this morning.
Mini roundup: Babies are spendy. Sadly, conservatives aren’t sure where they should stand on that fact.
Stupak Lessons — By: Robert Costa
National Review Online
Health bill shouldn’t restrict women’s care The Saratogian
defends ban on abortion as
women take case to Europe Irish Independent
lawmakers ignore the living who need help Duluth News Tribune
backs embryonic stem cells to protect abortions
The News Journal
Column twisted abortion facts Wausau Daily Herald
group’s abortion rights ads conflict with church’s stance Marquette Tribune
seeks middle ground on abortion issue Pittsburgh Post Gazette
to confront abortion in
health care debate San
recession unclear Northwest
Amendment Expected Today as Health Care Debate Continues American Spectator
would-be senators roil healthcare abortion debate Christian Science Monitor
Healthcare Bill Remains a Puzzle for Democrats—and GOP Opponents U.S. News & World Report
Joseph: Boxer leads charge on abortion
San Francisco Chronicle
Brother Wants to Manage Low-Income Women’s Family Planning … Change.org Women’s Rights Blog
Abortion Challenge Hearing This Week
USA/Africa – Aids – Yes, We Can? AllAfrica.com
one boy, 17, awaits adoption in Richland County Mansfield News Journal
feels birth pangs Las
Vegas Review – Journal
maternity bill would require coverage for birth control
The Colorado Independent
Miss Out on Sex Education Talks U.S. News & World Report
real inconvenient truth National Post