Democrats join Republicans in giving reproductive rights the finger

Posted March 23, 2010

Of all the miserable aspects of the healthcare bill – the lack of a public option, the exclusion of undocumented immigrants, and lack of real insurance company regulation – the anti-abortion provision is near the top of the list.

On Sunday the White House released the text of an
executive order reaffirming the bill’s consistency with the Hyde Amendment. Hyde, passed in 1976, prohibits federal funding for abortion, thereby preventing Medicaid recipients from accessing this essential service. President Obama’s order satisfied virulent anti-abortion Democrat Bart Stupak and brought 6 more Democrats in line behind the bill, ensuring its passage.

Less than three years ago, in July 2007, Obama shared these words these words with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

In my mind, reproductive care is essential care. It is basic care, so it is at the center and at the heart of the plan that I propose. Essentially what we’re doing is, we’re going to set up a public plan that all persons and all women can access if they don’t have health insurance. It will be a plan that will provide all essential services, including reproductive services, as well as mental health services and disease management services, because part of our interest is to make sure that we’re putting more money into preventive care.

The National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) emphasizes that the anti-abortion provision of the healthcare bill will devastate poor women most. According to NNAF, 200,000 women a year are forced to make major sacrifices to obtain abortions due to the Hyde Amendment.

To be precise, the bill requires segregation of funds used to pay for abortion insurance, to ensure that federal money does not pay for the procedure. Federal subsidies –designed to help lower income people buy insurance on the exchanges – could not be used to pay for insurance that covers abortion.

Additionally, no plan would be required to offer abortion, and people who want abortion coverage and are able to pay for it would have to write a separate check. This confounds the purpose of health insurance, since it requires that women plan for an unplanned pregnancy.

In sum, the bill will force women to buy private insurance that does not cover basic reproductive care and will lower the standard for insurance plans across the board.


6 responses to “Democrats join Republicans in giving reproductive rights the finger”

  1. Chloe Avatar

    Q: Is there a fund somewhere that can be contributed to that would pay for abortions for those who can’t afford one?


  2. Andrew Avatar

    Although I am staunchly pro-choice and pro-socialized medicine, I don’t have much heartburn with the removal of abortion from the recent health-care legislation. In today’s anti-government climate, I think it’s astounding that anything at all was passed in the first place (even the paltry insurance company supportive, watered down version that will likely be eroded into non-existence over time). My idea is that if (and I realize this is a big ‘if’) a person can get access to reasonably priced insurance, the financial relief will be such that the price of an abortion will be within reach of most of us.

    I also have to take into consideration those who feel so strongly that abortion is tantamount to murder. I quite disagree with them, but when I think about any strong feelings of my own, I realize that I might be as vehement about many of my own cherished beliefs (e.g.: As dearly as I hold the idea that socialism is the correct next step in the evolution of human society, I admit that I could be wrong. Maybe humanity is incapable of sustained cooperation. I hope not.) Of course, I would also say that if one is so opposed to abortion then they should be willing to support the children and that becomes another socialist idea that a god-fearing, free-marketeer would want to bear arms against.

    Question: Is there a fund somewhere that can be contributed to that would pay for abortions for those who can’t afford one?

  3. Chloe Avatar

    It’s just in time! Radical activists concerned about healthcare reform should check out this conference: From Abortion Rights to Social Justice.

    It is being held at Hampshire College in a couple of weeks.

  4. Dianne Avatar

    On the backs of women and undocumented immigrants the Democratic Party is crowing about their great victory over the right!

    I love how the author found the quote from Obama that reveals how deeply he cares about women’s rights. Mostly what the bill does is deepen the commodification of health care and strengthen the insurance company’s stranglehold.