Even when I disagree with Digby, I can't fault her reasoning or her writing skills. To put it mildly, I don't disagree with her this time:
The dynamics working against liberals are fairly obvious: they are the ones who want to help a whole bunch of people in dire straits and nobody else gives a damn. That makes them weaker in the final stages because everyone knows they want it more (that people are desperate) so they will not risk getting nothing at all when so many are suffering. The people who are willing to walk away always have more power in a negotiation.
And here's the problem -- how many lives of those in need are we willing to sacrifice to save the lives of others in need? Because the "difference" between "life of the mother" and "health of the mother" is bullshit. That's basically daring (or asking, if you want to give the Coathanger Democrats the benefit of the doubt) doctors to say a woman's life is at stake, so the anti-choice crowd can gun for them. Figuratively speaking, of course. The literal snipers don't much care about this sort of hair-splitting. Which naturally begs the question in the title. My short answer: no.
I hate to say this. Health care reform is absolutely necessary for this country. The status quo is killing thousands every year, eroding our economy, and bringing us ever closer to Third World status, if we're not there already. But the Coathanger Amendment is pernicious in ways we're still discovering. This thing is going to kill women. Young women. Disproportionately, lower income women. Desperate women faced with an agonizing choice. Women whose doctors are either afraid to risk the wrath of the anti-choice fanatics, or are such fanatics themselves. How many of them do we sacrifice to save the lives of people without insurance, or whose companies will cut them off without this bill?
I'm not going to pretend this is an easy choice. As Digby pointed out, we're the liberals -- by definition, the ones who care. Even my wife (who is not happy about Stupak, incidentally) reminded me of the axiom of the perfect being the enemy of the good. The problem comes when you're going from imperfect but still unquestionably good, to robbing Mary to pay Paul. Yes, I recognize that we're dealing with a situation where uninsured women are already facing this crisis. Yes, I get that the Stupak Amendment isn't entirely clear. (Come on, though, why do you think that is?) Yes, I understand that we're risking losing a fight we've waged over an entire year to help those desperately in need. How many wives and daughters are we willing to sacrifice on the altar of victory?
We don't have the right to make that decision. The Hyde Amendment is bad enough. If Coathanger is stripped in committee, great. Full steam to health care reform, and Kucinich can suck it. (Stupak's getting primaried, right?) If Democrats think they can throw more than half their constituents under the bus for a political victory, though, they've got another thing coming.