Roundup: Common ground and hand grenades


It’s the beginning of a new week, and all eyes are on the senate as they struggle to work on health care reform.

President Barack Obama gave democratic leaders a "pep-talk" over the weekend, encouraging them to continue to support health care reform, but Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson seemed unmoved by the tactic.

Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who has opposed the proposed government-run insurance program to compete with private insurers, said Obama’s speech was persuasive mainly "for those who have made the decision to support" the bill.

On the other hand, Sen. Chuck Schumer appears optimistic that progress is occurring within the chamber.

"We’re finding a good deal of the give-and-take that leads to common ground," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.), a negotiator on the issue. Sen. Schumer said no deals had been reached, and that talks on the issue would reconvene Monday afternoon.

Although a large gap still remains between those who are for and against a public option in the reform bill, a great deal of the attention is also being focused on the introduction of a Stupak-like anti-choice bill assumed to be introduced by Sen. Ben Nelson today.  

Antiabortion lawmakers in the Senate plan to introduce an amendment as soon as Monday to restrict insurance coverage of abortion in the health bill, setting up a showdown that has no clear path to resolution.

Both sides agree the amendment likely doesn’t have enough votes to pass, but antiabortion groups and Sen. Ben Nelson (D., Neb.) say they will continue insisting on tough language as a condition for supporting the overall bill.

The lack of a clear meeting point makes abortion somewhat different from the other top obstacle to the bill’s passage, the publicly run insurance plan that some Democrats oppose. There, both sides are weighing a handful of compromises.

On abortion, said Sen. Nelson, "it’s certainly not a lock that there’s language in the middle."

Could the introduction of a potentially unresolvable abortion rights amendment by a senator already on record for not caring for the current health care bill be an attempt to derail the bill altogether?  It wouldn’t be the first, or the last time that reproductive rights were used as a political weapon.

Abortion remains the omnipresent irritant of American politics. The country seems to have reached an uneasy equipoise on abortion rights: some, but not too much. Yet the adversaries in both sides remain engaged in trench warfare, with every battle over a few hard-fought yards. Abortion opponents have little hope of overturning Roe v. Wade, but they can try to make access more difficult. Supporters of abortion rights are, for the most part, trying to maintain the ground already won.

Meanwhile, abortion is a handy public-policy hand grenade to be tossed in the middle of any legislative battle by those whose goal is to blow things up. The current fight—over whether the health-care bill does enough to make certain that government money isn’t used for abortions—underscores abortion’s continuing potency as a political weapon.

Will health care become a scorched battlefield that nothing can survive? We’ll know more as the week advances.

Mini-roundup: If you are writing a letter to the editor, today’s magic word is disease, disease, disease… 

12/6

No-touch
technique for
birth control
Times of India

Reid
Says Yes to Abstinence
CQPolitics.com

Pro-life
pregnancy clinic hunts for new home

Jennings Daily News

Mikulski
Amendment would include Planned Parenthood in health care bill
Catholic News Agency

Your
Turn: Don’t overlook public cost of abortion ban
St. Cloud Times

Senate
Will Vote Monday on Amendment to Cut Health Care Bill Abortion Funding
LifeNews.com

Pro-Life
News: Manhattan Declaration, Stem Cell Research, Stupak, Netherlands
LifeNews.com

Star
Parker: Will Baltimore side with pro-abortionists?
OCRegister

Abortion
Emerges as Top Bill Threat
Wall Street Journal

On
Tape: Wisconsin Senator Kohl Promised to Vote Against Abortion in Health Care
Lifesite

Capps
steps into
abortion
spotlight
San
Luis Obispo Tribune

Neb.
abortion
doctor plans to expand his operation

Columbus Telegram

Abortion
vote could come Monday, Durbin says

Politico

Obama
gives Senate Democrats "pep talk" on health care
USA Today

Obama
Presses Senate Democrats on Health Bill
Wall Street Journal

Women
challenge Irish
abortion ban in court
guardian.co.uk

The
heart of the health care debate on
abortion
Huffington Post

Abortion
Rights and Health Reform
New York Times

Emergency
Contraception:
What Good Is "Available" If It’s Not
Change.org Women’s Rights Blog

Abortion’s
New Battleground; Will
pro-choice Democrats kill health-care reform
The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

New
group aims to help
pro-choice women candidates in Florida races
Tampa Tribune

Cunis:
Abortion views questioned
Daily News Tribune

Protest:
‘drop the abortion charges’
Green Left Weekly

Stupak
Is as Stupak Does
The
Citizen

Abortion
contradicts value of human life
Port Huron Times Herald

Adoption key
to family’s happiness
Myrtle Beach Sun News

Couple
say adopted son beyond their help
Tulsa World

Two
Reality Shows Stir Publicity and Anger

New York Times

 

12/5

Social
barriers remain for
adoption
Visalia Times-Delta

Planned
Parenthood ad is incomplete
The Coloradoan

Condoms
To Fight Climate Change
Daily Beast

Too
many single mothers
Kansas
City Star

Abortion:
more than 5000 UK women under 20 had repeat termination
guardian.co.uk

Patrick
Kennedy is a victim of Catholic hierarchy’s hypocrisy
Allentown Morning Call

Senate
Amendment Renews Abortion Debate in Health Bill
Christian Post

Pro-life
leader skeptical that Obama’s new bioethics commission will be ethical
Catholic News Agency

Bishops
urged to be tough on pols who would pay for
abortion

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Planned
Parenthood struggling financially, Harvard study finds
Catholic News Agency

Reproductive
Rights Prof Blog: Carol Sanger on Teenage
Abortion
Reproductive Rights

Tulare
County lacking in
abortion services
Visalia Times-Delta

Liberal
feminist Dems see no room for compromise
Chicago Sun-Times

Sarah
Palin’s son is being used to demonize pro-choicers
Salon

STUPAK
REFUTES FALSE CLAIMS IN NARAL AD
The Michigan News

Letter:
Note disproves
abortion
allegation
Dubuque
Telegraph Herald

Senate
healthcare debate stretches through weekend
Los Angeles Times

Abortion is
a social disease, not a religious debate
Boston Globe

Abortion
coverage equality
Press
& Sun-Bulletin

Male
contraception gains acceptability
Times of India

Don’t
take my taxes to pay for abortion
DesMoinesRegister.com

Edward
Fitzpatrick:
Pro-choice
Caprio reflects on his own family
Providence Journal

Creators
of abortion film say they want honest debate
Los Angeles Times

 

12/4

Rwanda:
Population Control Now Part of Schools’ Curricula
AllAfrica.com

New
report urges more investment to slash maternal and newborn deaths
People’s Daily Online

Pro-life
group faces Senate in uphill healthcare battle
OneNewsNow

Time
for Senator Reid to Decide Who He is

Christian News Wire

Senate
delays action on
abortion measure
CNN Political Ticker

Sarah
and Trig Emerge as Anti-
Abortion Stars
Newser

Catholic
Church wrong for anti-
abortion stance
Delaware County Daily Times

Moderates
seek greater health care cost controls

The Associated Press

Ad
targets Stupak amendment on
abortion restriction
Detroit Free Press

Abortion not
a gray area for Catholic pols
Pottstown Mercury

Neb.
Abortion
Doctor Plans To Expand His Operation

CBS News

Senate
votes to keep long-term care program

The Associated Press

GOP
out of touch on social issues
GSU Signal

New contraception
help for teens
Nursing
in Practice

Nebraska
high court overturns boy’s
adoption
Action 3 News

Senate
Approves Legislation Requiring Free Mammograms
Ms. Magazine

Some
good news about women and health care

Feministing

Yasmin
and Yaz Litigation Update
Lawyers and Settlements

Senator
Harry Reid Challenged to Stand Up for Supposed
Pro-Life Abortion View
LifeNews.com

Fort
Hood Shooter Faces More Charges, None for Killing Pregnant Soldier’s Baby
LifeNews.com

Social
Justice Begins In The Womb, New Book Shows
Pro-Life is Pro-Human Rights
LifeNews.com

New
Uruguayan President-Elect Means
Pro-Life Battle is Compromised, Leader Warns
Lifesite

Late-Term
Abortion
Practice Continues
Now

Abortion Doc
Takes Risks for Strong View
CBS News

Wife
arrested after husband’s girlfriend takes
abortion drug
Newsday

This
week’s healthcare questions, answers

Baltimore Sun

Michigan
Abortion Facility Advertizes Abortion as "Sacred Work"
Lifesite

Wisconsin
group argues Catholics can use contraception in good conscience
Catholic News Agency

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