Barabara Boxer

The New Problem For Health Care Reform: The Abortion Controversy

As if Joe Lieberman’s threat to filibuster the health care bill in the Senate if the “public option” is included was not enough, now Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska threatens to filibuster and fight against the legislation if abortion is allowed under the bill in final passage.

Many of the liberal Democrats who backed the House bill and allowed it to pass by 220-215 on Saturday night have made it clear that they would not support the final legislation IF abortion limitations are not taken out of the bill, and Senator Barbara Boxer of California has made it clear that she and other women senators in the Democratic party are working to prevent abortion restrictions in the final Senate bill.

So the abortion debate that has raged since Roe v. Wade in 1973 still simmers, and is a new obstruction to fundamental health care reform. It is looking as if the barriers to health care legislation are becoming so massive that it will not be possible to gain passage of legislation unless “reconciliation”, use of the 50 or 51 vote majority, is invoked to overcome any filibuster on abortion or on “public option”.

Since “reconciliation” has been used before by the Republicans under George W. Bush, it is reaching the stage where the Democrats MUST use it or face failure and dissolution of their mandate for change. If that happens, then the Democrats are doomed. If they use it, there will be anger, but the accomplishment of health care reform, despite controversy, will eventually assist the Democrats and President Obama, as the vast majority of Americans want such reform, so what must be done to accomplish it should be pursued.

Forget bipartisanship and catering to conservatives: It is time to play hardball and do what MUST be done!