On this dolorous anniversary of Roe v. Wade, there can be no stranger bedfellows for pro-life conservative Republicans than the hard-line pro-abortion group the National Organization for Women (NOW). But as the last Democratic hopes fade for passing Obamacare on a party-line vote by ramming the Senate bill through the House unchanged - the only way, short of rewriting Senate procedures, to avoid another Senate vote that would fail the 60-vote threshold - the Senate bill is coming under withering fire in the House from both sides on abortion, and in a delicious irony, NOW may end up delivering the coup de grace.
Already, pro-lifers are a problem; the House bill passed only with a 3-vote margin for error, down to 2 with the resignation of Robert Wexler, and the watering-down of the pro-life Stupak Amendment in the Senate bill has lost the vote of Bart Stupak and most likely the bill's lone Republican vote, pro-lifer Joseph Cao. Passage in the House would only be possible if some "no" votes turn to "yes," and Nancy Pelosi sure doesn't sound as if she has the votes in the face of the voter unrest that sent Scott Brown to the Senate.
But even the watered-down Senate provisions on abortion are enough for NOW to vow not only to kill the bill but excommunicate anyone who supports it:
[T]he nation's leading womens' rights group blasted the legislation as "beyond outrageous."
The National Organization for Women (NOW) harbors deep concerns with the Senate health legislation, and exclaims that "women will be better off with no bill whatsoever."
"The Senate bill contains such fierce anti-abortion language, and there are other problems from the point of view of women," NOW's President Terry O'Neill told Raw Story in an interview.
O'Neill said NOW "will not support candidates in 2010 if they vote for it."
If that wasn't harsh enough, O'Neill went after the integrity of the process:
O'Neill ripped the "the closed door negotiations" that many believe took place in the shaping of the bill, saying that "people want transparency."
She said the Democratic leadership's actions on health care have been similar to the Bush administration's tendency to write legislation secretively and "jam it down the throats of Congress."
Oh, and the long knives of identity politics are out for Ben Nelson and Bart Stupak:
The NOW president said the "male-dominated Democratic Party" is not doing women any favors by bringing in anti-abortion zealots," slamming Nelson and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), who amendment to restrict abortion coverage in the House health bill passed minutes before the final vote.
"Women are clearly harmed" by these lawmakers, O'Neill said. "Shame on the male-dominated Democratic Party for supporting them. They hold themselves out as the party that is women-friendly; well they're not acting like it."
Never thought I'd say this on a 22nd of January: welcome aboard, NOW.
Pass the popcorn.