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Web Letter

Does a vote like the one that the Catholic Nancy Pelosi cast in favor of the healthcare bill constitute a compromise? Examine the way the antiwar Pelosi, following her "No" vote on the Iraq war, dismissed what had been her issue: the just and rightful use and disposition of those of her constituents who were already in uniform.

It's as though Katha Pollitt believes that Congressional votes are stepping stones, and that her reps--any of them missing a step and landing in a puddle, then getting up and moving forward with grace and aplomb--are in office and taking those steps for no reason other or better than to prove their own mettle.

Take a different subject on which Pelosi has had a vote: the child-molestation that is rampant (the first instance of it being one too many) within Pelosi's church. Likely never even to be brought up for a vote by the woman who claims that everything is for the children is the US's ability to sever relations with Vatican City.

As a Dem and someone raised in the Catholic Church (and one with a parent/teacher remaining alive), I do admit that, if a vote on severing relations with Vatican City were to be taken, there's a good chance that Bart Stupak would find himself being accompanied by Nancy Pelosi (and that he would not, this time, take her place or go in her stead, as was the case about him when it came to the addressing of the abortion section of the healthcare bill).

I think the question is whether or not we voters (Nancy Pelosi being one of us before she's anything else), by way of our silence, compromise.

I'd add that if Bart Stupak had not brought Catholicism into the healthcare debate, then the next time abortion was up for debate, the Catholic Church would've been without so much mojo--and without the part that that mojo plays in qualifying the Church's receipts as tax-deductible.

San Franciscans would be among all those who'd have a lot more tax monies with which to purchase healthcare (and they could vote to lavish money upon the search for a cure for AIDS) if they were represented by someone who wasn't hell-bent on catering to one special interest: the just and rightful disposition and use of her own, already-damned, soul.

There's no way, in a democracy, for a citizen like Nancy Pelosi to write a law that denies rights to another woman who is like her. Such a law is the business of religion. If Pelosi desires to practice religion, she can leave government. That, and only that, is her right, when it comes to solving what is for Pelosi the problem of another woman's abortion. I shouldn't be in a position in which it's necessary for me to say of Nancy Pelosi's god that he is not fooled by Pelosi's using Stupak to speak for her, to cover her ass.

A kiss on the cheek for Pollitt: Bart Stupak is the last person in the world able to speak for antiabortionists. He's not so committed to the idea of a state in which women have no rights to privacy that he's willing to name as a murderer, for his God, even one woman who's obtained an abortion. There never had to be a Judas, Katha. It wasn't a prophecy.

J.E. Bernecky

Westover, PA

Mar 25 2010 - 10:46am

Web Letter

I enjoyed Katha Pollitt's article and strongly agree that Obama and the Democrats owe women a huge payback. American feminists need to admit that Obama's record on women's rights has been mediocre. It was so embarassing when Ms. magazine had Obama on its cover last year with a "This is What a Feminist Looks Like" caption. Obama is what a politician looks like, not what a feminist looks like.

Kathleen Trigiani

Albuquerque, NM

Mar 23 2010 - 10:51pm

Web Letter

Though my sympathies generally lie with prochoice activists, I cannot help but wonder why such a huge deal was made out of the abortion part of this bill. Is it so difficult to understand why having insurance for abortion would offend many people? In their minds, abortion insurance is almost like planning abortions and having the government pay for them.

We need to think outside the box here. Instead of trying to provide this insurance as an option for government-subsidized health insurance, why not establish a stand-alone fund--created and maintained by an NGO that collects donations from people who are strongly prochoice --to fund necessary abortions for those women who cannot afford them?

Vicki Dunaway

Honokaa, HI

Mar 23 2010 - 10:00pm

Web Letter

After the Democrats frittered away their filibuster-proof majority, they gave us, in the name of "reform," a requirement that we buy insurance from for-profit insurers--in the name of covering not all Americans, saying this way 32 million more than currently have insurance will be covered, but those 32 million will be covered in nine years. Plus, no public option, no reduction in the cost of insurance or copays, and to get these crumbs for the masses, they gave antichoice cavemen like Stupak a big fat present. Who wants these restrictions on abortion? The same bishops who played "hide the pedophile" in neighborhoods across America, Ireland, Germany, Holland for generations. Wow, what we learn about ethics from religion.

Watching the Democrats congratulate themselves on their heroic and historic health insurance guaranteed-customers-by-force-of-law act, I feel sick.

Trish Randall

Vancouver, WA

Mar 23 2010 - 7:34pm

Web Letter

I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for any payback. While I'm relieved that the process of reforming healthcare in the United States has taken a small step forward, I know that the Obama administration has no real interest in advancing or protecting women's rights.

Ann Mulligan

Baltimore, MD

Mar 22 2010 - 11:04am

Web Letter

Any discussion of the healthcare reform bill must refer to the language of the bill itself. Otherwise, it gives the impression that the writer has not read the bill. Since most laypersons don't have the time to read legislation, we expect that writers will find the time.

It says in the bill that anyone taking out abortion coverage must pay at least one dollar toward the extra premium cost. If that is all that is paid, one dollar, then the rest is a subsidy.

James K. Bachmann

Pueblo, CO

Mar 19 2010 - 7:34pm

Web Letter

It should be clear to Katha Pollitt that, if, in the case of the health care "reform" the Democrats are trying to pass--with the blanket assurance of votes from the "Progressive" Caucus, the White House, the House Speaker, etc.--reproductive rights are tossed aside casually by their supposed most ardent supporters, that she is dreaming if she imagines some sort of "payback." In the health insurance bailout legislation, all of the figures and organizations she is counting on to aggressively agitate for the administrative and legislative activities she wants as "payback" already showed they had no will to stand firm on legislation that sets up a challenge to Roe v. Wade, let alone go on the attack.

Seymour Friendly

Seattle, WA

Mar 19 2010 - 11:22am

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