Dan Gerstein is NOT a Democrat. He doesn't speak for Democrats. The crap that comes out of his mouth is one of the reasons Lieberman was kicked out of the Democratic Party.
If you are going to quote Dan Gerstein, he should be quoted in the proper context of representing the exact opposite of what Democrats should do.
Unless you are Fox and you want to make Democrats look bad. Then he's the perfect source.
The so-called health care reform bill now before the Senate, with the addition of Majority Leader Harry Reid's Manager's Amendment, amounts to a health insurance bill for half the population and a sweeping anti-abortion law for the rest of us. And by the way, it's the rest of us who voted the current leadership into both houses of Congress.
The National Organization for Women is outraged that Senate leadership would cave in to Sen. Ben Nelson, offering a compromise that amounts to a Stupak-like ban on insurance coverage for abortion care. Right-wing ideologues like Nelson and the Catholic Bishops may not understand this, but abortion is health care. And health care reform is not true reform if it denies women coverage for the full range of reproductive health services.
We call on all senators who consider themselves friends of women's rights to reject the Manager's Amendment, and if it remains, to defeat this cruelly over-compromised legislation.
Statement by Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, on Proposed Abortion Language in the Senate Manager's Amendment:
"Planned Parenthood strongly opposes the new abortion language offered by Senator Ben Nelson in the manager's amendment. Last week, the Senate rejected harsh restrictions on abortion coverage, and it is a sad day when women's health is traded away for one vote.
"The Nelson language is essentially an abortion rider. It creates an unworkable system whereby individuals are required to write two separate checks each month, one for abortion care and one for everything else. There is no sound policy reason to require women to pay separately for their abortion coverage other than to try to shame them and draw attention to the abortion coverage. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that insurance companies will be willing to follow such an administratively cumbersome system, leaving tens of millions of women without abortion coverage.
"After the passage of the Stupak amendment in the House, we heard loud and clear from women across the country that they will not stand for the undermining of their rights and their access to benefits. This Nelson abortion check provision will no doubt create the same outrage, as women learn that they are being made second-class citizens when it comes to health care coverage.
"As many members of Congress and the president believe, Planned Parenthood does not think that health care reform is the forum to litigate abortion policy. Unfortunately, opponents continue to use abortion as a political wedge at every step of the reform process.
"There is no policy reason for this action, it is simply a political maneuver. We understand that leaders in the Senate and the White House want to move the process forward, but given this provision, we have no choice but to oppose the Senate bill.
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, issued the following statement regarding new provisions affecting abortion coverage in the Senate health-reform bill.
"Since the health-reform process began, we have fought against anti-choice lawmakers' attempts to use this historic legislation to launch attacks on a woman's right to choose. Like many of our allies in the broader progressive community, we often feel that, as soon as we achieve some progress, another challenge emerges.
"It is outrageous that, two weeks after pro-choice Americans came to Capitol Hill united against the egregious Stupak-Pitts amendment, the Senate has succumbed to including further anti-choice language in its bill. While the Senate bill does not include the Stupak-Pitts provision, this new language is unacceptable. It is inexplicable that a bill seeking to expand health coverage for Americans would impose such great administrative burdens on women who purchase abortion coverage and plans that offer it.
"At every turn, our standard has been consistent and clear: Women should not lose ground in the new health-care system. The bill does include other provisions that will improve women's access to reproductive-health services significantly. However, the language regarding abortion coverage comes at too high a price for reproductive health. Thus, we must oppose this new Nelson language. And NARAL Pro-Choice America withholds support from the overall health-reform legislation until we assess the totality of provisions in the final bill that comes out of a conference committee between the House and Senate.
"This situation is a reminder that, despite our significant pro-choice gains in the last two election cycles, anti-choice lawmakers still outnumber our allies. Until those numbers change, women's reproductive health will continue to be a bargaining chip. We call on members of America's pro-choice majority to channel their anger into action. Join us in working to re-elect those members of Congress who stood with women and defeat anti-choice politicians."
Electorally, this bill is a disaster, maybe even through 2014/2016 due to the timing of the mandates. I too don't get the math, but when your Deputy CoS and Political Director is Jim Messina, I'm not surprised they have higher values than electing Democrats and passing good legislation.