Visual source: Newseum
The New York Times sums up the significance of yesterday's vote on the Blunt Amendment, which would have radically curtailed access to health care services for women in America:
Only one Senate Republican — Olympia Snowe of Maine, who is retiring — voted against a truly horrible measure on Thursday that would have crippled the expansion of preventive health care in America. The amendment, which was attached to a highway bill, was defeated on a narrow 48-to-51 vote. But it showed once again how far from the mainstream Republicans have strayed in their relentless efforts to undermine the separation of church and state, deny women access to essential health services and tear apart President Obama’s health care reform law.
Louis G. Trubek
The amendment, which was enthusiastically endorsed by Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, would have allowed any employer or insurance company to refuse coverage for any activity to which they claim a religious or moral objection.
That would have meant that any employer who objects to cervical-cancer vaccines could have refused to provide health insurance that covers them. The same goes for prenatal sonograms for unmarried mothers, or birth control, H.I.V. screening or mammograms.
writes about her experience fighting for privacy rights in the Supreme Court:
We can celebrate Griswold, Roe and all the cases that stemmed from the Poe litigation. They are important landmarks in American jurisprudence. But as I look back I am dismayed by how few of the issues I was fighting for at the time of Poe are resolved. To be sure, we have important rights and more legal privacy. But we still have not provided all the support women need to combine rewarding careers and healthy families. Planned Parenthood is under siege and poor women who are seeking comprehensive reproductive care are still at risk. Presidential candidates can get away with saying that all contraception should be outlawed. Comprehensive child care services are difficult to locate, and fully financed family and medical leave is still controversial.
looks at the attack on privacy and the Blunt amendment saga and argues it's an example of why Republicans won't win the Senate:
A Republican activist who worked on Capitol Hill and who does not want to be quoted says the debate over the availability of contraceptives is “way bigger than a wedge issue” because it goes against settled thought for two generations, and makes the Republican Party look out of touch. “Younger people hear [a debate about contraception] and think those people are Martians. They are unlike me or anybody I know or care about. Republicans risk becoming irrelevant to a whole generation of people, and I include Catholics in that. This is a private matter between a woman, her God, her spouse, and her physician. It’s a crowded enough conversation without government in there.”
at The Washington Post
Twenty-five years ago, Ted Kennedy delivered a speech against Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork that even some liberal opponents of the former solicitor general thought was over the top. It led to the pejorative phrase, "to bork," meaning to assail one's character inaccurately and unfairly.
When I was reading about the Blunt amendment yesterday, I went back to Kennedy's words about “Robert Bork's America.” “It is a land,” Kennedy thundered, “where women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors … and schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution.”
It seems to me that we are actually closer to this dark vision of America than we were in Bork’s day.
Finally, in a brilliant (non-Blunt) column, Paul Krugman
tears aparts the economic blueprints of the four Republican presidential candidates:
Mitt Romney is very concerned about budget deficits. Or at least that’s what he says; he likes to warn that President Obama’s deficits are leading us toward a “Greece-style collapse.”
So why is Mr. Romney offering a budget proposal that would lead to much larger debt and deficits than the corresponding proposal from the Obama administration?
Of course, Mr. Romney isn’t alone in his hypocrisy. In fact, all four significant Republican presidential candidates still standing are fiscal phonies. They issue apocalyptic warnings about the dangers of government debt and, in the name of deficit reduction, demand savage cuts in programs that protect the middle class and the poor. But then they propose squandering all the money thereby saved — and much, much more — on tax cuts for the rich. And nobody should be surprised.