Letter on abortion in healthcare shuts down Senate today

UPDATE, 11/5, 5a: It occurred to me yesterday that Reid's staffers likely didn't tell the press the topic of Koop's letter. But Koop did, at least in part. Here's the epilogue, from Roll Call:

Reached at his home Wednesday, Koop confirmed that he wrote a few "beautifully typed" pages on his views of the health care legislation. The fact that it caused a Capitol Hill scare is "nonsense," he said.

c. everett koop, abortion, healthcare, surgeon general.jpg

"I wasn't aware that sending a hand-delivered letter was an offense," he said, later adding: "I did it over a weekend. I don't have a lot of secretarial help and I'm 93."

Koop said the letter asked that health care legislation include a provision to ensure doctors and medical students would not be forced to perform abortions.

He has not heard from Reid's office, he said....

Sources say the letter - stampless and with "C. Everett Koop" written in the upper-left corner - appeared in the office's outgoing box. The postal clerk alerted the office to the letter, and staffers reported it as a suspicious package to the Capitol Police. Reid's office was closed for about 45 minutes while officers worked to clear the envelope....

_______________

We keep reading abortion is the hold-up on passage of nationalized healthcare, but what an object lesson this was.

Following is a story this afternoon from The Hill, but it omits a key point. The topic of former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop's letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was keeping abortion out of healthcare. A Senate staffer sent me the letter.

harry reid, c. everett koop, abortion, healthcare.jpgSo it could be said the controversy over abortion in healthcare shut down the US Senate today. How embarrassing for their side...

A letter about healthcare reform to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), apparently from former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, triggered a security scare that briefly shut down much of the Senate on Wednesday....

The typed letter, tucked inside a hand-written business envelope, appeared in Reid's office without postage, in an outgoing mailbox bin. A Senate postal clerk noticed the envelope and alerted a Reid staffer, who in turn notified Capitol Police about 2p.

swat team, harry reid, c. everett koop, abortion, healthcare.jpg

A small swarm of officers responded, first shutting down the hallway outside Reid's office and then taking the even rarer step of shutting down the wide Ohio Clock corridor that senators use for press conferences outside the Senate's main entrance. Mindful of the ricin and anthrax attacks in 2001, teams of hazardous materials technicians were called and tested the envelope before opening it and discovering Koop's letter.

"The staff in the Capitol in particular and on the Hill in general are very sensitive to mail that ends up in an office and hasn't been cleared," said Senate Sergeant at Arms Terry Gainer.

Gainer said Senate officials have not yet contacted Koop to verify that the letter was his, but said the letter did discuss healthcare reform. Gainer described the letter as typed and well-written, and addressed to Reid as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Gainer said investigators still don't know how the letter ended up in Reid's office.

Koop was the U.S.'s 13th surgeon general, serving during the Reagan administration from January 1982 to October 1989. He is a professor at Dartmouth Medical School.

An assistant to Koop, reached at his Dartmouth office, was unaware of the letter but said it is likely Koop's if it contained his signature. The assistant also said Koop was not reachable Wednesday and apparently acted on his own and was not representing the school.

the office, harry reid, c. everett koop, abortion, healthcare.jpg

Some Senate business continued as usual during the hour-long security scare, as senators continued with scheduled floor speeches. The closed hallways prevented many aides and staffers from reaching or leaving their offices, however, and much of Reid's own staff was apparently cooped up inside the 2nd-floor suite.


Comments:

Just wonderful! Some fool can't follow appropriate protocol and shuts down our country's Senate. I happen to want and need health care and you people are throwing temper tantrums about something that is not in any of the bills - the Hyde amendement does apply. That is the truth-not that any of you uneducable people will believe it, no matter who tells you. God have mercy on your souls, because I and a lot of other people won't.

Posted by: Shelley at November 4, 2009 4:46 PM


Shelly,

People everywhere who need health care want it.

Some people who do not need it want it.

The question is who is responsible to pay for it.

Elective abortion is not health care.

It is not theapeutic.

It does not treat or remedy a disease.

It is similar to breast augmentation or tummy tucks or penile enhancement.

I believe you ought to pay for your own health care.

If you do not have the resources to do so and are incapable of acquiring the resources through your own labors, then your family should step up to the plate or your church or your local charity or perhaps an individual who chooses to give his money rather than your preferred method of using the power of government to steal it from those who are not willing.

yor bro ken

Posted by: kbhvac at November 4, 2009 4:56 PM


Shelly,

You who have no mercy for us expect us to show mercy to you.

It is a good thing for us all that GOD cause HIS rain to fall on the unjust.

Other wise we would all be very thirsty and very stinky.

yor bro ken

Posted by: kbhvac at November 4, 2009 4:59 PM


Ken,

I pay highway robbery for insurance because I (and many others) am a pre-existing condition-a subhuman to the insurance companies.

I have worked long and hard during my life and paid more than my share of taxes.

Reasonable, affordable healthcare is not too much to ask.

I also hope you maintain your privileged position in life, otherwise you may just join us pre-existing condtions. It's really easy.

Posted by: Shelley at November 4, 2009 5:08 PM


LOL Shelley, I need your mercy, why? You mention temper tantrums in the same breath as I NEED and I WANT ?!? Abortion is most definitely in the bill, (which is a govt power grab, btw, not about healthcare):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6d7amETRbdE

Posted by: klynn73 at November 4, 2009 5:12 PM


Ken,

Did you read and comprehend this (from my first):

...you people are throwing temper tantrums about something that is not in any of the bills - the Hyde amendement does apply. That is the truth-not that any of you uneducable people will believe it, no matter who tells you.

Like I said, you don't learn.

Posted by: Shelley at November 4, 2009 5:13 PM


People,

Hyde Amendment.

Look it up on Snope.

Read and learn.

Posted by: Shelley at November 4, 2009 5:15 PM


I actually support healthcare- I can't believe that we're like one of what-two?- countries in the world that doesn't give its citizens direct care. My only thing is if there's abortion in the bill, but from everything that I've (including those links that someone gave me a few weeks ago), it's not covered. Really, I don't see why people like Planned Parenthood will throw a fit if it isn't covered: good heavens, abortion won't be nearly an issue if women have access to prenatal care, so maybe that's what certain people are upset about? That it can turn the focus to making it illegal once it's no longer an issue of, "What do I do?"

I don't know. I remember reading in history about the debates that raged on over roads during Jefferson's presidency- some people felt that that was stetching the government's power too much.

I don't think that there's anything wrong with living in a society that has people take care of one another.

Posted by: Vannah at November 4, 2009 5:30 PM


Shelly, you are obviously misinformed about how the Hyde ammendment relates to the current healthcare debate.

The Hyde ammendment deals only with funds from the annual House and Human Services Appropriations Bill. It would not apply to the new programs created outside of that framework.

Posted by: Lauren at November 4, 2009 6:10 PM


Meet at the U.S. Capital, Thursday @ high-noon.

Posted by: OBAMANATION at NOTRE DAME at November 4, 2009 6:46 PM


Looks like the Capitol police will be busy tomorrow as well, dealing with the wackos.

Posted by: Bystander at November 4, 2009 7:35 PM


I also hope you maintain your privileged position in life, otherwise you may just join us pre-existing condtions.
Posted by: Shelley at November 4, 2009 5:08 PM

Hi Shelley. If you want to talk about "privileged position," why not address your complaint to your representatives in Congress?

Congress is NOT putting their private health insurance plans into the exchange where your plan and my plan will go. They are keeping their plans in their own federal employee exchange. And they are NOT opening them up for citizens like you to enroll in.

There's a reason for that. They understand that an influx of many people with pre-existing conditions and chronic illness will INCREASE premiums. Why not direct your anger at our elitist representatives who'd rather protect themselves than look out for YOUR best interest?

Anything Congress thinks is bad for themselves is bound to be bad for you too, Shelley. The problems in the reform proposal go way beyond abortion funding.

Posted by: Fed Up at November 4, 2009 7:57 PM


Hi, People:

I found an article that might interest some people here:

health.msn.com/kids-health/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100248065>1=31036

I took off the http part. I don't know that I agree with the study, but some people here might seem keen on it, so I thought that I'd share it.

It talks about the number of children that a couple has and how studies are observing the ways that it affects personal happiness.

Posted by: Vannah at November 4, 2009 10:19 PM


something happening at the Capital today?

Posted by: Hal at November 5, 2009 8:49 AM


Oh yeah! C. Everett Koop! The Dartmouth grad!

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at November 5, 2009 9:09 AM


Shelley,

You have no sway over my soul one way or another. Furthermore, you have no power to be merciful towards me, nor to withhold mercy. Mercy for what? Have you no sense of shame, trying to raise yourself to The Lord's level? Mercy for my soul!?! There is One who can grant my soul mercy, and I will continue to ask Him to do so. May the Lord God have mercy on all our souls.

When Health Care Reform protects all of those under its care, including the "unwanted" preborn humans, that's when I'll consider backing it. Until then, I would encourage you to sacrifice a little, Shelley, for the lives and safety of those who cannot defend themselves.

Posted by: MaryRose at November 5, 2009 10:26 AM


Some fool can't follow appropriate protocol and shuts down our country's Senate.

Not to mention delaying a message from a respected former Surgeon General.

However, the postal worker, being a Federal employee, will probably avoid any meaningful consequences.

Posted by: Charlie (Colorado) at November 5, 2009 11:46 AM


Giving politicians the power to decide who gets to go to the doctor and who doesn't is a bad idea.

The only counter argument to this is to deny that politicians will be the ones to decide. But that argument is false; politicians run the government, and the government will provide healthcare, so politicians will be the ones to decide who gets to go to the doctor and who doesn't.

It is never a good idea to give this much power to politicians.

Posted by: Philster at November 5, 2009 12:50 PM


Yor Bro Ken....I love how you put it! AMEN thirty times over!

So for a little healthcare, lets just give up defending children. Its okay if a few fetuses die as long as my premiums MIGHT go down. Wow Shelley...you talk about compassion? Show a little yourself! And ask yourself if abortion is not going to be funded in the new healthcare system, then WHY is planned parenthood so antsy and so very interested in seeing these liberal healthcare bills passed?

Posted by: Sydney M. at November 5, 2009 12:50 PM


Go Joe! Let's get behind this!

Republican Rep. Joe Wilson proposed an amendment Wednesday that would force all members of Congress to receive health insurance coverage through the government-run plan proposed in the House's reform bill. (FOX News, Nov.4)

Posted by: Janet at November 5, 2009 1:04 PM


The Hyde Amendment does not apply to the Health Care Reform bill because of the kind of bill it is and isn't. It's good that U.S. Rep. John Conyers has not only voiced his opposition to their being any federal funding for abortion in the bill, but has reminded people that President Obama promised there would be no such funding at the start of the year. It's unfortunate that Koop passed up the chance to rule that abortion causes bad medical and other effects--since verified by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Posted by: Richard L.A. Schaefer at November 5, 2009 1:06 PM


Shelley, several commenters said it as well as I ever could... but can you consider this, at least? Why, if the Hyde Amendment "removes abortion" from the current health care legislation, have the abortion-tolerant people (e.g. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, etc.) either voted DOWN any amendments that clearly prohibit abortion, or refuse even to allow the amendments to come to a vote at all? What do they have to lose, or of what are they so afraid, that they fight on elittle amendment that would probably allow their bill to *sail* through Congress?

Do you seriously thing that the abortion-tolerant legislators are fighting tooth-and-nail to stop these pro-life because they're "redundant", and would waste a precious $100-200 (or whatever pittance) in extra photocopier toner and paper needed for the extra 1-2 LINES in the 1000+ page bill? (Y'know, if that's all it, is, and if babies' lives can be assured, then I'll be happy to chip in $500-1000 for paper and toner!!) Or are they so fastidious about "not being redundant" that they're willing to put the nation through hell in order to have a "pristine bill, without useless verbiage"? If you don't see something suspicious there, then I don't know what to say to you.

Posted by: Paladin at November 5, 2009 2:05 PM


Go Joe! Let's get behind this!

Republican Rep. Joe Wilson proposed an amendment Wednesday that would force all members of Congress to receive health insurance coverage through the government-run plan proposed in the House's reform bill. (FOX News, Nov.4)


Posted by: Janet at November 5, 2009 1:04 PM

I totally agree with Joe. My Grandmother always taught me, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Posted by: Ma'May Faucher at November 5, 2009 3:17 PM


Reasonable, affordable healthcare is not too much to ask.

Posted by: Shelley at November 4, 2009 5:08 PM


Why do people resent paying for such a valuable service?

Doctors and nurses and people who develop drugs and treatments deserve to be paid for their work.

Most of us would not like someone telling us that the services we provide are not worth our salaries and demanding that we take far less compensation for our work because they feel they have a right to have us work for them at a lower wage.

Posted by: hippie at November 5, 2009 4:10 PM


I don't think that there's anything wrong with living in a society that has people take care of one another.

Posted by: Vannah at November 4, 2009 5:30 PM


When people do it voluntarily, it's called insurance. It is a risk/contingency management strategy.

Demanding that taxpayers pay for it, while the gov't allows anyone to just walk across our borders and get free access.

Citizens are required to pay taxes. The gov't enforces.

Hospitals are required to provide services. The gov't enforces.

The immigration laws. The gov't doesn't enforce the law.
Instead they propose amnesty for those aliens who abuse and steal from citizens.

Posted by: hippie at November 5, 2009 4:34 PM