So health care for all (or at least, health care for most) passed and was signed into law yesterday in the U.S. It's not perfect, but it's something. This take on it by Kevin M.D. is a great summary of the reality of the situation.
The thing that amazes me, though, is how abortion has suddenly become the hot-button issue in the health care debate. The Republicans -- hell, even some of the Democrats -- wanted to be extremely sure that no taxpayer money would be used to fund abortion.
Funny, no one ever asked me what I'd like my taxes to be used for before. I don't particularly support the wars going on in Afghanistan and Iraq, but no one has offered me the choice of not having my tax money go towards them.
Somehow abortion is different. It's like a code word for something so evil, so wrong, that people automatically give in when someone utters the word. "It's not going to be used for abortion, is it?" "Oh, no, never..."
As I've said before, abortion is a procedure that happens in a context. Something happens: birth control fails, a fetus develops a defect of some type, there is a change in a woman's life... and suddenly, abortion is the right option. Yes, you can love babies, and yes, you can love life (whatever that means), but abortion is necessary to protect women's health. Doing away with abortion, or making it harder to obtain, isn't going to stop abortion: it's going to drive it underground, and we know what happens with that.
Somehow, in this whole health care debate, abortion has (pardon the pun) taken on a life of its own. It symbolizes something other than what it actually is: a medical procedure. It seems to represent all the fears that Conservatives have about women, being out of control, sexuality run amok.
I truly hope now that health care reform has passed and been signed into reality, that this strange abortion thing will go away. Although I doubt it.