Friday, March 19, 2010

Allowing the Stupak revolt an honorable death

I hope that the political signals are accurate and the healthcare plan is headed for passage and enactment.

If so, one of the intriguing storylines right now is that Rep. Bart Stupak, a Democrat from Michigan seems to be seeking a compromise so he and his block of voters can support reform. Stupak insists that he only wants to maintain current law (Hyde amendment) which bans any federal funds from being used for abortions. Apparently, Stupak is extending this principle to people who are being subsidized to purchase healthcare, even if they pay for abortion coverage completely on their own.

If his idea is that money is fungible and that there is too close a connection there, he would need to deal with the fact that many policies today are subsidized with tax breaks. In addition, we segregate funds in this very manner in reference to religious activities and faith based groups. So if his claim did win the day it would be a radical change in a number of areas.

But assuming that Representative Stupak has seen that the bill will pass with or without him, and that he wants to be seen as a winner rather than a non-factor; Democrats should support giving him an honorable way to settle his greivance and come aboard this bill.

That can come in the form of an executive order, a signing statement, a promise for a future vote, or whatever may suit all sides.

Though this was a bogus issue to begin with, we should respect the sentiment and refocus it elsewhere.

There are plenty ways for pro-life democrats to assert themselves. And they should.

This was not one of them.

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