The Mix

Reframing the abortion debate?

Dems make a play.
This'll piss off some people, who'll read it as pandering to the right, but I think it makes good sense and is good politics to boot:
The Senate Democratic leadership says it has found a wedge issue to strengthen the party's position on abortion rights, which top strategists think has become a liability in recent years.
Only top Dem strategists could see an issue where a majority of Americans agree with them as a liability, but I digress. Let's agree that they're not winning on the issue.
The wedge is legislation expanding access to contraceptives and sex education, which polls show a majority of Americans support but which Democrats are betting will be difficult for social conservatives in the Republican base to accept. […]
The Prevention First Act is sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), one of few congressional Democrats considered anti-abortion. The bill, which Reid introduced at the start of the Congress, has the support of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), presumptive front-runner in the 2008 presidential primary and 21 other Democrats.
The bill would prohibit group health plans from excluding contraceptive drugs, devices and outpatient services if they cover the cost of other prescription drugs and outpatient services. It would also require the secretary of health and human services to disseminate information on emergency contraception to healthcare providers and require hospitals receiving federal money to provide emergency contraception to victims of sexual assault.
The bill would also mandate that federally funded programs provide information about contraceptives that is medically accurate and includes data on health benefits and failure rates.
I hope they add the right's attempt to block approval for HPV vaccine, a drug that will save tens of thousands of women from death by cancer that the fundies think will "encourage sex," and the "morning after pill," emergency contraception that's been blocked for O-T-C sale for the same reason.

Leading up to the 2004 election, I opined that people who truly oppose abortion should vote Dem because the right's formula -- shaming sexually-active (but non-procreative) adults and withholding information about sex from young people -- leads to nothing but unwanted pregnancies.

The right believes they can make people stop having recreational sex if they just whine and stamp their feet hard enough. In that belief, they're utterly out of touch with reality, and we should keep calling them on it.

It's a good wedge.
Joshua Holland is a staff writer at Alternet and a regular contributor to The Gadflyer.
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