Sunday, March 7, 2010

The calm before ... what?

This was a quiet weekend with the small exception of Rep. Eric Massa's (D, NY) resignation, which is a plus, since he was originally a "no" vote on healthcare reform.

The big crunch will involve "C-streeter" Bart Stupak and the anti-abortion contingent in the House. I simply don't see any easy argument that will change things. If you believe that an embryo, whether unimplanted, an hour old or a day old, is equivalent to a mature fetus or delivered baby, or mature person, then you are likely to vote against any bill that spends any dime of federal money on abortion under almost any accounting method. It is important for "choice" proponents to understand that the belief that a blastula of a hundred or so cells has a spirit or soul that makes it a human is a religious belief that you can't simply talk a person out of, any more than than you can simply tell that person that souls and God don't exist. Arguing about "church and state" will not cut it with people so committed to their religious beliefs.

Perhaps Rep. Stupak can be bought off by an offer from House Whip Steny Hoyer to have a separate reconciliation vote on abortion rules. The only thing that might make this offer at all attractive for Stupak is that he won't have to bear the burden of being "the person who killed healthcare" if it comes to that. I simply don't know how this will play out.

In the long run, the best way to keep this from happening again is to wage strenuous campaigns against candidates who make abortion their exclusive and deciding issue. Even if you believe in souls, the world is a complicated and dangerous place, there are a lot of good and vulnerable people out there, and abortion is only one way to die.

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