Thursday, March 04, 2010

A Toast, and Some Required Reading

Sure, we'll call it a toast, because that sounds much nicer than invective, and I need a drink after this anyway, so we're covered.

Fuck Bart Stupak.
Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., today said he and 11 other House members will not vote for the health care bill unless it includes more stringent language to prevent federal funding from going toward abortion services. Some Dems want to remove public funding for abortions from Obama's proposal.

"We're not going to vote for this bill with that kind of language," Stupak told "Good Morning America's" George Stephanopoulos today, referring to the Senate health care bill, which includes less restrictive language than what the Democratic lawmaker proposed in the House.

Stupak said he is willing to take the criticism that will be hurled at him if he blocks the bill because of the abortion language, but that he won't back down on his principles.

Aaaaaaaand drink. Oh, finish the whole thing. Now the required reading, first a refresher from last year courtesy of Katha Pollitt (well, courtesy of my friend who sends me this stuff when I miss it the first time around), responding to the meme that prochoicers need to just suck it up and accept that perpetually increasing abortion restrictions are just the price we (women) have to pay for healthcare getting passed:

You know what I don't want to hear right now about the Stupak-Pitts amendment banning abortion coverage from federally subsidized health insurance policies? That it's the price of reform, and prochoice women should shut up and take one for the team. "If you want to rebuild the American welfare state," Peter Beinart writes in the Daily Beast, "there is no alternative" than for Democrats to abandon "cultural" issues like gender and racial equality. Hey, Peter, Representative Stupak and your sixty-four Democratic supporters, Jim Wallis and other antichoice "progressive" Christians, men: why don't you take one for the team for a change and see how you like it?
For example, budget hawks in Congress say they'll vote against the bill because it's too expensive. Maybe you could win them over if you volunteered to cut out funding for male-exclusive stuff, like prostate cancer, Viagra, male infertility, vasectomies, growth-hormone shots for short little boys, long-term care for macho guys who won't wear motorcycle helmets and, I dunno, psychotherapy for pedophile priests. Men could always pay in advance for an insurance policy rider, as women are blithely told they can do if Stupak becomes part of the final bill.


Enough already. Prochoicers have been taking one for the team since 1976, when Congress passed the Hyde amendment, which Jimmy Carter would later defend with the immortal comment, "There are many things in life that are not fair." Time for the theocrats and male chauvinists to give something up for the greater good--to say nothing of the twenty prochoicers, all men, who supported Stupak out of sheer careerism. After all, if it weren't for prochoicers, there wouldn't be much of a team for them to play on.

If you need to make additional and possibly expanded or more specific and detailed toasts at this point, feel free to leave them in the comments. Then schlork down the rest of your glass and settle in with last week's column from Jessica Arons, in which she takes Stupak's insistence that no abortion be funded with any federal dollars, no matter how indirectly, to its reasonable conclusion.

Money in Stupak's world is "fungible," or interchangeable, meaning whatever money the government gives you frees up private money for you to use on something else. So every dollar the government pays toward your health insurance premium allows you and the insurer to spend private funds in that plan that you might not otherwise have had on abortion. To Stupak, that subsidization is the equivalent of a direct payment.

But by that token, every government benefit a woman receives, whether monetary or in-kind, whether for healthcare or for something else, could be seen as subsidizing an abortion if she has one.

Either there is no such thing as indirect funding or everything receives indirect funding, but there is no in between. Either the government pays for abortion or it does not. Stupak, who until recently lived in the "C Street House"--a townhouse owned by a religiously affiliated organization that receives a tax exemption--cannot accept indirect subsidies in one area but reject them in others.

Remember, water in equal measure to alcohol, and two ibuprofen and a dollop of toothpaste before bed--face it, if you'd planned on keeping that liver forever you would have started treating it better a long time ago--and hope tomorrow isn't a workday in your world.

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