Even as the much of the Catholic blogosphere remains obsessed with such weight matters as minuscule portion funds being directed toward family planning services for low-income women (but not abortion), I would rather focus on two very important decisions, courtesy of the Obama administration.
First, the bill funding S-CHIP has finally passed, paving the way for the provision of health insurance to 4 million additional children who today are uninsured. Deo gratias. Recall that Bush actually vetoed this bill a while back based on a mixture of pure ideology (free markets ueber alles!) and misconceptions about what S-CHIP actually did. The additional spending amounts to about $33 billion over five years– remember too that the health care experts claim that the provision of health insurance actually provides good stimulus, by reducing the need for precautionary savings to deal with unforeseen medical expenditures. Amazingly, Republicans turned against it partly the Democrats refused to prohibit covering children of newly-arrived legal immigrants.
So, in Obama’s first few days we get (i) the planned closure of the Guantanamo prison and the end of the torture techniques approved by the previous administration for the CIA; (ii) the S-CHIP decision; (ii) the energy decision; and (iv) the reversal of restrictions on providing aid to family planning groups abroad that provide abortion or abortion counselling. And yet, in the noisy Catholic blogosphere, you will hear a lot about (iv), the one dubious decision, and not much at all about the virtues of the other decisions. How predictable.