I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accept instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials, and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leaders were negotiating with the Catholic bishops and their representatives on Friday.
The apparent decision to jettison abortion services in the name of political expediency is really quite a remarkable climbdown from the Clinton era, when reproductive rights were much closer to core Democratic principles. And it can't really be attributed to Republican obstruction; at the moment there are roughly five Republican Representatives with decent records on choice issues: Judy Biggert (IL-13), Mark Kirk (IL-10), Mike Castle (DE-AL), Charlie Dent (PA-15), and Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11).
I really, really, hope that the endgame plan here is to kill this crap in conference. I can't see Barbara Boxer or any number of Northeastern Senators voting for this nonsense.
Update: On the plus side, this make or break time for Douthatism. We're going to end up with a bill that expands insurance coverage but reduces insurance coverage for abortions (individuals who currently buy insurance on the non-group market will have to buy it through the exchange, so some of them will not bother purchasing separate riders for abortion coverage). This is the sort of thing that Douthat and the 2007-vintage Mike Huckabee should support, right?
... Also, if there's no vote on Medicare+5% at this point, that's some grade-A bullshit. The whole point of pulling the vote on Medicare+5% was to give leadership an excuse not to allow Bart Stupak's wanker amendment to come to the floor. Since that's clearly not happening, we should get votes on both amendments.