Democratic House leaders saved the health-care reform bill by letting anti-abortion members of their party tack on an amendment from Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan, barring insurance plans purchased with federal subsidies from covering abortions. Pro-choice Democrats voted for the bill, but Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado called the measure the "greatest restriction of a woman’s right to choose to pass in our careers." Did Democrats sacrifice the abortion rights movement to pass health-care reform? (Watch Rep. Diana DeGette discuss abortion rights on MSNBC)
Democrats will pay for abandoning women: The Democratic leadership has just thrown half the population under the bus, says Ann Friedman in Feministing, by saying that the women's rights are "expendable." It should be a "no-brainer" for a party that depends on women voters to win elections to see that "fundamental rights for women are not peripheral. They are core." The only way to save health reform -- and women's rights -- is to overturn the ban on spending government money on abortions.
"Whose health care victory?"
Face it, there's a pro-life left: Democrats can't escape the fact that not everyone on their side supports abortion, says Terry Mattingly in GetReligion.org. The party has Catholics on its side "who accept their church’s teachings on the 'life' issues," and Southern evangelicals who have similar beliefs. The party wouldn't have a majority in the House without these people -- so it needs to respect their beliefs.
"Abortion was the key to it all"
Democrats need disappointed pro-choicers more: "The pro-choice Democrats will be far more offended than Washington insiders realize," says Brent Budowsky in The Hill. So the party risks losing its health-care reform coalition -- and a lot more -- over this. "My bet is, the Democrats are one inch away from a progressive revolt that will take the progressive voter depression of 2009 to a whole new level."
"Now abortion: The coming liberal revolt"
Eventually, the compromise could hurt pro-lifers: Planned Parenthood and NARAL are screaming now, says Joseph Bottum in First Things, but it may be the pro-life movement that loses in the end. It seems like good news for Catholics that the Stupak amendment barred federal funding for abortions -- but this just gave pro-life Democrats cover to vote for the bill. The Senate bill could include abortion funding, and the reconciliation process could yield a bill that abortion groups will like, after all.
"Health care without abortion"
MORE OF THE WEEK'S COVERAGE OF HEALTH-CARE REFORM: