Monday, March 22, 2010

Hooray for Health Care!

It takes a nation! From Nancy Pelosi to President Obama to Bart Stupak and everyone else who sent an email or made a phone call, we did it!

The health care bill passed yesterday by the House of Representatives is "the Civil Rights Act of the 21st century," said Majority Whip James Clyburn.

It has been a wild ride in the last six months as hope flared and ebbed. I felt so helpless last week when it was clear that I could do nothing. I had to place my trust in Nancy Pelosi and President Obama to make it happen--and they did!

I'm also grateful to Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan and his allies for making a last-minute compromise, after working the situation to shine the spotlight on their anti-abortion cause.

"Babykiller!" a fellow representative shouted at Rep. Stupak as he spoke before the House explaining his change of position to vote yes.

How precarious the position of everyone who claims to be "pro-life"! One minute you can be a hero, but the next, if you move one-eightieth of an inch toward compromise, you can be vilified as the worst of the worst, one who wants to "kill babies."

Never mind how many babies' lives will be saved by access to medical care as infants and toddlers--and how many adults' lives will be eased and saved by preventive care instead of emergency room care.

Never mind how many mothers' and babies' lives will be saved by good access to prenatal care.

Never mind how many pregnancies will be prevented by access to contraceptive resources--thus preventing thousands of abortions.

The only thing that matters to these extremists is that some girl who was raped or sexually abused by a family member or whose life is endangered by carrying a baby to full term--some girl may now have access to medical care and end a pregnancy.

Or some woman who wants full reproductive care may write her separate check for this service with money that she wouldn't have had if this bill had not passed.

For these reasons, they now regard Rep. Stupak as a babykiller. He will have to work hard to regain their respect, if that is even possible.

But he has gained my respect.

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