Abortion: The 600 Pound Gorilla of Health Care Reform?

healthcareSpeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi promised on Sunday, July 26, to stop the bickering among House Democrats, restore momentum to health care reform, and get a positive house vote on health care before the August recess. And, in her spare time she’s going to part the Red Sea!

It’s a high-stake gamble.

Reality dictates that House members will be returning home during the recess. Blue Dog districts (those districts where Conservative Democrats have been elected) will be bombarded by health industry and business groups interested in derailing healthcare. They will be advocating for those who have made billions with the present pro-business bent of healthcare while trying to convince us that they’re watching out for the average person. They are pulling out all of the stops to panic the public about costs, government takeover and the “rush” to get a plan passed.

Conservatives have a great line.

For instance, Conservative Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is not only looking out for the health of Americans, but speaking out! She recently lambasted Democratic efforts at healthcare reform saying, “Yesterday, as the House Energy and Commerce Committee marked up the Democrat’s proposed health care reform legislation, Democrats made it clear that they are more than willing to put a Washington bureaucrat between you and your doctor.”

Thanks, Michele. You sound like a Compassionate Conservative looking out for the people’s interest.

Meanwhile, not to be outdone, good ol’ boy Conservative Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona is also concerned about bureaucrats running healthcare. During a Republican National Public Radio broadcast, he spotlighted the danger that a Democratic plan will, “empower Washington, not doctors and patients, to make health care decisions.”

Like his Conservative cohort, former president George Bush, Kyl’s compassionate conservatism blows in from the desert sands of the Wild West.

Unfortunately, Conservatives speak most easily out of both sides of their mouths.

No Washington bureaucrat between you and your doctor, Michele? Don’t empower a Washington bureaucrat to make health decisions, Jon? Hmmm. What about a woman’s right to choose? When it comes to this most sensitive and personal health care issue, Kyl and Bachmann want the longest Washington-nosed politicians, plus the church, police and bureaucrats, checking out wombs and possible pregnancies. No right to privacy here. And certainly no personal choice. Get the doctor out of the way, even if it means shooting him.

Jamison Foser of Media Matters, forecasts, “Most people waiting anxiously for real health care reform probably haven’t thought much about whether insurance covers abortion…It should be noted that anti-choice activists not only want to prevent a public insurance plan from covering abortion, they want to prevent private plans from doing so as well.”

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, has confirmed that he would agree with including abortion coverage in national health care reform. That’s awfully big of you, Senator. It’s good to know that you will accept the fact that safe and affordable abortion is a medical procedure, and not the privy of amateurish back-room medical wannabes. The good Senator may also even realize that church dogma cannot dictate medical procedures.

So, would Conservative opposition to health care reform melt away if abortion was not a covered medical procedure?

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews asked Obama adviser David Axelrod: “If the federal government spends money on abortions, that means people who believe abortion is evil would be forced to have their tax money go to pay for abortions. How do you justify that?”

Foser rebuts, “The premise that taxpayers who oppose abortion shouldn’t have to pay for them with their tax money carries obvious implications the media ignores: What about contraceptives? Why should a woman denied insurance payment for an abortion be forced to subsidize the prostate exam of a man who insisted he not have to fund her abortion? Why should Christian Scientists who believe only in healing by prayer be forced to subsidize their neighbor’s heart surgery?…After all, millions of Americans believe the death penalty and wars of choice are immoral. But the moral beliefs of pacifists and death penalty opponents are not granted the privilege the media grants opposition to legal abortion — and so you rarely see a news report premised on the idea that taxpayer funding for war or capital punishment is inappropriate.”

carl-matthes.jpgIt should be an interesting week.

Carl Matthes

Published by the LA Progressive on July 28, 2009
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About Carl Matthes

Carl Matthes is a native of Los Angeles and has lived in Eagle Rock for 45 years. He is the current president of UGLA, Uptown Gay and Lesbian Alliance, a grassroots organization in Northeast Los Angeles which provides a support system for gay men and lesbians and education for individuals and the community-at-large on the true nature of homosexuality. He is a former columnist and a current advisor to the Lesbian News, the oldest lesbian publication in America, which is owned and published by his sister, Ella. He was editor of the GLAAD/LA (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) newsletter, a former GLAAD National Board member and served as a GLAAD/LA representative on the LGBT/LAPD Advisory Board. Carl has also been a Board member of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

In July, 2008, Carl was legally married to Carl Johnson, his partner of 45 years, by Los Angels City Councilmember Jose Huizar. It was a unique gay/lesbian double ceremony as Carl's sister Ella and her partner Gladi were also married by Jose.