Friday, March 2, 2012


The Senate yesterday (3-1-12) voted to table S 1467, which would have allowed an exemption for the rights of conscience of faith-based organizations to eliminate abortion-producing drugs from their health-care insurance policies.  I have a conclusion (a few, actually) about the implications of this decision.

First of all, it is likely that the equivalent legislation (H 1179) will pass in the House, and then be "defeated" again in the Senate.  This is because what happened in the Senate was a vote [51-48] "largely along party lines."

Second, the vote was not, strictly speaking, a vote "against"--it was a vote to "table," with the unspoken intention that it never be taken back off the table for action. 

What does this say about politics in an election year?

It says that party identification is a great place to hide when one is campaigning for re-election.  I can state with great confidence "I am a loyal Republican/Democrat," and my voting record proves it."
It says also that gamesmanship is alive and well.  Depending on which parts of my constituency I am appealing to for re-election, I can now say "I made sure this amendment did not take effect," or "I never voted against this legislation's being enacted."  It's really quite convenient.

It finally says (to me, at least) that self-preservation in Washington is more important than clear thinking (and frankly, any voting that can be characterized as "along party lines" says this to me). 

Even though the Catholic Church has taken the lead in appealing against the HHR mandate as a violation of freedom of conscience, it is not the only religion that is so concerned:  Sen Orrin Hatch made the same point (he is Mormon); there are Baptists, too, who are concerned:  we need to remember the large number of Baptist-run hospitals in our country, as well.  If Catholics especially are the focus of this conflict, will the Baptists be next?

Let's stand with, and stand for:  let's STAND!

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