The Stupak Amendment

Ken AshfordHealth Care, Women's IssuesLeave a Comment

It won in the House – the amendment to the health care bill that makes sure that no government health care plan will subsidize abortions, which — last time I checked — are legal medical procedures.

You see some people don't want their insurance premiums for the health care plan to be used for a purpose that they find immoral.  Never mind the fact that their private insurance premiums go for that purpose right now.  Never mind the fact that *I* have to pay taxes to support schools, and I don't have any kids.

And never mind that, as Digby points out, that the government health care plan will pay for Viagra.

Yes, the whole thing stinks.  Blatently anti-women.

But I don't despair.  If that's what it takes to get a health care plan passed, it's worth it.  Plus, we can always revisit the issue in a few years.  Heh.

Then again, maybe it won't be so bad.  In his Washington Post column today, E.J. Dionne claimed that pro-choice lawmakers and advocates are overstating how detrimental the Stupak amendment would be to women’s access to abortion:

The Michigan Democrat’s measure — passed 240 to 194, with 64 Democrats voting yes — would prohibit abortion coverage in the public option and bar any federal subsidies for plans that included abortion purchased on the new insurance exchanges. […]

Whatever else is true, Stupak’s amendment is unlikely to have a significant effect on the availability of abortion. And most abortions are not paid for through health insurance. The Guttmacher Institute, for example, reported that only 13 percent of abortions in 2001 were directly billed by providers to insurance companies — although the institute has cautioned that the proportion of women whose abortions were covered by insurance could be higher because the figure did not include those “who obtain reimbursement from their insurance company themselves.”