One of the controversial parts of the Senate version of the health care bill was the provisions against abortion coverage. While nominally focused on preventing Federal money from being spent on abortions, those provisions require separate premiums for and separate accounting for all abortion funds by health insurers. Since the essence of health insurance is in paying one premium to cover whatever you might end up needing coverage for, rather than having to predict in advance what conditions you'll have so you can buy coverage for them, that kind of makes a mockery of health insurance coverage of abortion.
I had thought that provision would not sit well with the core of the Democratic party, which I guess I still thought of as favoring political freedom, including things like abortion choice. So when I heard that the House was setting up the health care vote as a two part vote - passing the Senate version, which would become law, while at the same time passing amendments which would go back to the Senate - I figured that was just a cynical way of passing the Senate version while allowing Democratic representatives to claim that they voted against the abortion restrictions.
It turns out I was wrong. Pelosi isn't cynical, after all, at least not in that way. Instead, she and the Democrats in the House seem to have simply turned against abortion rights, making no effort to change the Senate provisions.
I used to have difficult choices in most elections: I'm in favor of freedom, and I had to choose between a party that only cared about political freedoms and a party that only cared about economic freedoms. Now, though, it's looking like there won't be a choice that actually cares about political freedom any more.
Good summary of the health care bill before the House:
Yeah, the Democrats clearly made the calculation that passing health care reform was worth the funding limitations on abortions. Based on the apparent closeness of the vote, it does seem that adding the limitations was probably necessary to have a chance of passing the health care reform in approximately its current form. "Democrats turn against abortion rights" is probably an overstatement. I expect that 80% of them would immediately turn around to vote in favor of stripping out the abortion funding restrictions: it's just that they can't pass the bill with only 80% of the Democratic votes.
I'm sure most democrats will still continue to give abortion choice lip service. To me, though, actions speak louder than words. Taking an action that will have the practical effect of striking abortion coverage from the vast majority of health insurance plans is an unjustifiable antiabortion action, especially in light of the other weaknesses of the health care bill.