What The Press Hasn't Noticed About Health Care

It's all about abortion, says Hadley Arkes. Even though only 13% of Americans support federal abortion funding --because even "pro-choicers" don't think a private "choice" should be funded as a public good-- the Congressional committees have refused to allow amendments cutting off funding to come to a vote.
What the media have not understood is that the removal of abortion could doom the whole bill. For even they seem not to have grasped the truth that dare not speak its name: that the paramount, defining issue for the Democrats now – the issue that gives scale and place to everything else – is that commitment to abortion, for any reason, at any time. For people on the Left, that right to abortion has become the “first freedom,” taking the place of freedom of speech and religion. If abortion were explicitly barred from a vast new program of medical care, that would be taken as another, telling sign that the public has refused to accept the legitimacy of abortion as just another form of surgery. For the National Organization of Women, and the Left at the core of the Democratic Party, that kind of judgment is just not to be brooked. If that is the cost of national heath care, they would rather not have it than suffer this moral reproach running to the core of their lives.
In other words, the Dems could have had a health care bill months ago if Nancy Pelosi weren't simply the head on top of the neck that is the abortion groups.

As it stands, if Bart Stupak, pro-life Democrat, can hang onto the 40 Democratic pro-life and Blue Dog votes he's got against abortion funding in the health care plan, that --combined with GOP votes-- would be enough to defeat health care in the House.

Unless the administration buys off a couple Blue Dogs, or they prove this stupid:
the Democrats will accept the temporary exclusion of abortion if they can get their main measure passed. Once the new scheme is in place, all of the trends at work in the bureaucracy and courts will be on the side of accepting abortion as a medical procedure thoroughly legitimate.
Which brings us to our old (at this blog anyway) and highly controversial point that there's no such thing at the federal level at this time as a pro-life Democrat.
Past the feistiness of Bart Stupak and his gang of Blue Dogs is the hapless, if not witless, condition of the pro-life Democrats and the voters who keep them there. It is the same incoherence that afflicted the pro-life voters who voted to put Bob Casey in the Senate in Pennsylvania. If they were really pro-life, what sense did it make to vote for a man who would help put in control of the Senate or the Congress the party that is radically pro-abortion? If the Bart Stupaks truly regarded the protection of life as the issue that rises above all others, why have they been willing to make themselves agents for putting into power the party that regards the defense of abortion as its first, controlling principle?