Every time I write a roundup, I find myself hoping this is the last time I have to write about Sen. Ben Nelson (D – NE). Sadly, it never is. And here he comes again. But first, a little good news.
Lost in the wake of the Manager’s Amendment coverage was a victory for those who want to keep abortion safe, accessible, and most importantly, private, like all other medical procedures. A court in Oklahoma has blocked a proposed law that would force women seeking abortions to provide invasive personal information, especially regarding why they want the procedure.
"The measure includes more than 30 questions a woman seeking an abortion
would have to answer, including details about whether she is having
relationship problems or whether she can’t afford a child."
Anti-abortion groups claimed that the information would help them better target services that could assist women with unwanted pregnancies. However, the law was ruled currently unconstitutional. "[T]he [C]enter [for Reproductive Rights] argued a procedural issue, saying it violates Oklahoma’s
single-subject rule because it includes a ban on gender selection and
additional health department requirements."
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Although asking for women to jump through hoops for health care appears to be unconstitutional in Oklahoma, our senate not only considers it constitutional, but a great bargaining chip in the health care debate. This weekend, the Senate managed to grab its 60th vote needed to end the republican filibuster over health care reform by offering Sen. Nelson the right to decide which women deserve access to abortion.
But interestingly enough, though the senate praises this "compromise," pro-choice and pro-life advocates have finally found one place they agree: This compromise stinks.
NOW is saying
the language "will effectively make abortion coverage unavailable in
health insurance exchanges and, ultimately, in private insurance
policies as well."
And here is the statement from Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood:
"Planned Parenthood strongly opposes the new abortion language offered
by Senator Ben Nelson in the manager’s amendment. Last week, the Senate
rejected harsh restrictions on abortion coverage, and it is a sad day
when women’s health is traded away for one vote.
As for anti-abortion groups, they’re, well, furious.
In a press release on Saturday, the NRLC stated the amendment is
"light years removed from the Stupak-Pitts Amendment that was approved
by the House of Representatives on November 8 by a bipartisan vote of
240-194. The new abortion language solves none of the fundamental
abortion-related problems with the Senate bill, and it actually creates
some new abortion-related problems."
Rep. Bart Stupak,
D-Mich., who pushed through the restrictions in the House-passed bill,
also rejected Nelson’s deal. He called it "not acceptable" because it
"would allow the federal government to subsidize insurance policies
with abortion coverage." He said he intends to keep working to find a
solution that would allow him to ultimately vote for the health care
Now that the showdown is over, you would expect someone to be grateful for Nelson. Instead, it appears that folks are more interested in what exactly he got in exchange for his vote.
[C]ritics by Sunday were heavily questioning Nelson’s motivations,
given that the abortion restrictions he sought and won did not satisfy
several major anti-abortion lawmakers and groups and that it took a
major federal payoff to his state to seal the deal.
Critics were calling it the "cornhusker kickback" and the "Nebraska
windfall," lobbing accusations of political deal-making at Nelson.
"It’s pretty obvious that votes have been bought," Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said.
It was the concern of Nebraska’s Republican governor over expanded
Medicaid costs in the proposed Senate health care overhaul bill that
led to a compromise to cover his state’s estimated $45 million share
over a decade, U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson said Sunday.
Heineman "contacted me and he said this is another unfunded federal
mandate and it’s going to stress the state budget, and I agreed with
him," the Nebraska Democrat said. "I said to the leader and others that
this is something that has to be fixed. I didn’t participate in the way
it was fixed."
But Heineman expressed anything but gratitude,
saying he had nothing to do with the compromise and calling the
overhaul bill "bad news for Nebraska and bad news for America."
"Nebraskans did not ask for a special deal, only a fair deal," Heineman said in a statement Sunday.
Looks like Nelson is about to learn that 60 is the loneliest number…
Mini Roundup: Bad financial times are not causing more adoptions in the U.S., but does appear to be affecting the well being of U.K. adoption agencies. And a woman gets trapped in Vegas trying to adopt a child.
December 21, 2009
shifts, backs abortion curb Boston Globe
December 20, 2009
to the Abstinence-Only Fantasy New York Times
Unholy Compromise The
letter by Joe Kimes: Forcing birth control is discriminatory Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
pregnancy center figures in state Senate race Washington
retiring after 37 years with Planned Parenthood Brattleboro Reformer
deal hinged on abortion Politico
lawmakers vote to ease abortion restrictions Boston Globe
No Stupak CBS
Add the Ornaments and Trimmings New York Times
mulls pivotal issues in Kan. abortion trial The Associated Press
Nelson sees backlash on health reform plan The Associated Press
not ideal, but will transform health care system Washington Post
of Senate, House health care bills
The Associated Press
couple caught up in apparent adoption fraud Minneapolis Star Tribune
December 19, 2009
deal in sight in Senate healthcare negotiations Los Angeles Times
of truth for health care in Senate
The Associated Press
opponents watching Nelson on health care The Associated Press
Believe the Abortion
seems that abortion is
more dear to them than socialism." National
introduces healthcare bill after compromise Los Angeles Times
coverage battle on health bill continues The Associated Press
Compromise Draws Fire From Both Sides
New York Times
& A: The compromise on abortion Los Angeles Times
sway Nelson, a hard-won compromise on abortion issue Washington Post
grab final vote for health bill Boston Globe
may lose pro-life
bill revives abortion issue for young women The Associated Press
Two Checks: How Abortion Will Be Paid For Under The Nelson Compromise Democratic Underground
December 18, 2009
mom says adoption
laws keep her stuck in Nevada Press of Atlantic City
Times, but No Rise in Adoptions
New York Times
Accused of Performing Abortions
Los Angeles Times
at Bat on Abortion
Funding: Home Run or Strikeout? Politics Daily
insurance, conscience, and symbolism
Bishops Weigh in Against Abortion Compromise in Health Reform Bill U.S. News & World Report
group files suit over supreme court election law Wisconsin State Journal
Health-Care Legislation Talks Come Down To Wire Wall Street Journal
Mount as Senators Haggle Over Health Bill New York Times
for China, Good for the World? American Spectator
Virginia, There Is a Pro-Life Democrat in the Senate National Review Online
insurers admit to providing uneven birth control coverage The Colorado Independent