Roundup: All About the Benjamins


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."

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.

Pro-choice groups are furious.  

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
bill.

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.

Even Nebraska’s own governor is leaving Nelson to hang in the wind.

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.

Gov. Dave
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

Coakley
shifts, backs abortion curb
Boston Globe

 

December 20, 2009 

End
to the Abstinence-Only Fantasy
New York Times

No
federal
abortion
funds
Casper
Star-Tribune Online

An
Unholy Compromise
The
Weekly Standard

Web
letter by Joe Kimes: Forcing
birth control is discriminatory
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Antiabortion
pregnancy center figures in state Senate race
Washington
Post

Fielder
retiring after 37 years with Planned Parenthood
Brattleboro Reformer

Pro-life
group rejects Senate compromise on
abortion
OneNewsNow

Health
deal hinged on
abortion
Politico

Abortion
rights groups oppose compromise
Politico

Nelson
Accused of Selling Vote on Health Bill for Nebraska Pay-Off
FOXNews

Spanish
lawmakers vote to ease
abortion restrictions
Boston Globe

He’s
No Stupak
CBS
News

Senators
Add the Ornaments and Trimmings
New York Times

Judge
mulls pivotal issues in Kan.
abortion trial
The Associated Press

Neb.’s
Nelson sees backlash on health reform plan
The Associated Press

Legislation
not ideal, but will transform health care system
Washington Post

Comparison
of Senate, House health care bills

The Associated Press

Minnesota
couple caught up in apparent
adoption fraud
Minneapolis Star Tribune

Independent
adoption
agencies count the cost of the recession
Times Online

 

December 19, 2009 

The deal that won Sen. Harry Reid Slate

Abortion
deal in sight in Senate healthcare negotiations
Los Angeles Times

Senate
Democratic leaders scramble to lock up votes for health-care reform
Washington Post

Moment
of truth for health care in Senate

The Associated Press

Abortion
opponents watching Nelson on health care
The Associated Press

Don’t
Believe the
Abortion
Hype
National
Review Online

"It
seems that
abortion is
more dear to them than socialism."
  National
Review Online

Reid
introduces healthcare bill after compromise
Los Angeles Times

Wonk
Room » Senate Bill Would Allow States To Prohibit
Abortion
ThinkProgress

Boxer
supports
abortion
deal
San
Francisco Chronicle

Senate
(Sort Of) Caves To Nelson’s
Abortion Demands
Newsweek

NOW
President Condems Compromised Health Care Bill; Women’s Access to
Abortion
Common Dreams

Barack
Obama’s health reform set to pass Senate after
abortion deal
Telegraph.co.uk

Abortion
coverage battle on health bill continues
The Associated Press

Abortion
Compromise Draws Fire From Both Sides

New York Times

President
Obama Heralds as ‘Significant Progress’ Unpopular Compromise
 ABC
News

What
is the
Abortion
Compromise?
  TIME

FACTBOX-Proposed
changes to US Senate healthcare bill

Reuters

Q
& A: The compromise on
abortion
Los Angeles Times

Democrats
gain 60th vote on health bill
Reuters

To
sway Nelson, a hard-won compromise on
abortion issue
Washington Post

Democrats
grab final vote for health bill
Boston Globe

Mainland
Chinese mothers deluge maternity wards of Hong Kong hospitals
Washington Post

Pro-life
group blasts Nelson compromise
Politico

Nelson
may lose
pro-life
supporter
Lincoln
Journal Star

Health
bill revives abortion issue for young women
The Associated Press

Senate
Clinches Healthcare Deal with Abortion Compromise
The Nation

One Premium,
Two Checks: How Abortion Will Be Paid For Under The Nelson Compromise
Democratic Underground

 

December 18, 2009

Vineland
mom says
adoption
laws keep her stuck in Nevada
Press of Atlantic City

Lean
Times, but No Rise in
Adoptions

New York Times

Does
Sen. Ben Nelson Stand in the Way of Health Care Victory for Democrats?
ABC News

Women
Accused of Performing
Abortions

Los Angeles Times

Pro-Life
Activist Lila Rose Attacked by Planned Parenthood
Abortion Center Escort
LifeNews.com

Politics
Today: Obama Calls for Action in Copenhagen
CBS News

Abortion
hangs up healthcare; did it before, too
FOXNews

Casey
at Bat on
Abortion
Funding: Home Run or Strikeout?
Politics Daily

Abortion
insurance, conscience, and symbolism

Washington Examiner

Abortion,
Social Justice and Health Care Reform

FOXNews

GOP
rips Senate health care timeline
CNN

Catholic
Bishops Weigh in Against
Abortion Compromise in Health Reform Bill
U.S. News & World Report

Anti-abortion
group files suit over supreme court election law
Wisconsin State Journal

Judge
Keeps New Oklahoma
Abortion Law On Hold
NPR

Senate
Health-Care Legislation Talks Come Down To Wire
Wall Street Journal

Tensions
Mount as Senators Haggle Over Health Bill
New York Times

Good
for China, Good for the World?
American Spectator

Key Pro-Life
Democrat Bart Stupak Rejects Casey Abortion Funding Compromise
LifeNews.com

Yes
Virginia, There Is a
Pro-Life Democrat in the Senate
National Review Online

Pro-Life
Group’s Analysis of Bob Casey Compromise: It Still Funds Abortions
LifeNews.com

Northern
Ontario Town to Reconsider Approval of
Pro-Life Monument
Lifesite

Majority
in US Senate Deaf to the Voices of
Pro-Life Americans and Catholics
Catholic Online

Colorado
insurers admit to providing uneven
birth control coverage
The Colorado Independent

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  • crowepps

    Anti-abortion groups claimed that the information would help them better target services that could assist women with unwanted pregnancies.

    Then why don’t they have ALL the women whose pregnancies are unwanted fill out the questionnaire? Half of those women actually complete their pregnancies and their information should be included as well.

    Why are they requiring completion of the questionnaire by women who had abortions but whose pregnancies WERE wanted; women with complications like ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, anencephalic pregnancy or dead fetus?