Saturday, March 7, 2009

620 Fewer Hospitals?

A showdown is looming between the Catholic Church and the Obama administration over the pending Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA).

When it last was introduced into the legislature, FOCA defined abortion as a "fundamental right" that no government can "deny" or "interfere with." That language, FOCA's opponents warn, would help overturn abortion restrictions such as parental notification, laws banning certain procedures and constraints on federal funding. It would also appear to require hospitals to offer abortions to their patients, even hospitals that believe that killing unborn children is a terrible evil.

There are some 620 Catholic hospitals in the United States. They will either refuse to comply with the law - if it has no exception for conscience - or they will close their doors.

How many jobs will this cost? How many suffering patients will be unable to find treatment if the hospitals close down? And for what? So that some leftist ideologues can shove their values down everyone else's throats?

This is not a pro-life/pro-choice issue. Pro-lifers will oppose FOCA, of course, but so, too, should every pro-choicer who has ever argued that a woman should have the right to decide on the basis of her own conscience whether to have an abortion. If the decision to have an abortion is a matter of conscience which should be respected then so, too, is the decision to decline to perform them. FOCA, as it is currently believed to be written, is indeed a flagrantly anti-choice bill.

The Obama administration has already seen the stock market plummet on its watch and with it the retirements of millions of people. Now it is poised to force Catholic hospitals out of business. These are not hopeful trends.

For more on the FOCA showdown see here.



The most brilliant satirist on the internet, or anywhere, is how the Weekly Standard describes Iowahawk, and surely his latest effort justifies the description. For those who may not be paying much attention a little background is in order. Last year a number of prominent right-leaning journalists spoke rather rapturously of Barack Obama's candidacy and disparagingly of people like Sarah Palin, Joe Werzelbacher (Joe the Plumber) and Rush Limbaugh. In the minds of these mutinous pundits such populist heroes are declassé and faintly disreputable. The newly-elected president then charmed some of them even further by joining them for an exclusive dinner at the home of columnist George Will.

Now Iowahawk takes up his pen to skewer the elitist pretensions of these writers and their mystification and alarm at the influence the "lower classes" have achieved in the party that was once the private domain of the "better breeds." It's an amusing parody and can be read here.


You're Getting <i>Very</i> Sleepy

Ralph Peters thinks that Obama's speech promising a pullout of all American combat troops from Iraq by the summer of 2010 is "all flash and no bang." Me too.

Peters writes:

Will the 50,000 troops he intends to leave in Iraq, the trainers and maintainers, be forbidden to defend themselves? Are they just going to hang out? If terrorists or the Iranians skunk us, are we just going to ask for more?

We're not going to leave 50,000 support troops in Iraq without combat units to protect them. We'll just ban the word "brigade" and call our shooters "task forces."

Why the rush to get out anyway? American troops are no longer dying in Iraq and they're doing much good preserving stability, training the Iraqis, and rebuilding the country. Perhaps the president simply wants to use them in Afghanistan (or, as is becoming increasingly likely, on the Mexican border), but, as Peters writes, he sounds like he's just trying to mollify the lefties who helped elect him because they understood that he was going to bring our troops home immediately.

Obama's dilemma is this: Iraq is all but won while Afghanistan had been won but is now beginning to slide back toward chaos. If either of those theaters in the war on Islamic terror goes sour there'll be no blaming Bush or the Republicans for the collapse. The American people will see the loss as Obama's fault. He certainly doesn't want that to happen, so his challenge is to appease the left-wing, some of whom would be delighted to see it happen, while doing what he can to preserve the gains made by the Bush administration. And he wants to do all this, presumably, while being careful not to give the Bush administration any credit for those gains.

It'll be interesting to watch how he navigates this tightrope. The trick will be to ignore what he says as he swings the watch back and forth in front of our eyes and soothingly tells us that we're getting sleeeepy. Instead, we need to focus on what he does. As with earmarks, the two could well be very different.