Monday, November 09, 2009

Health Care Reform Passes with the Stupak Amendment

By now you’ve probably heard that the House’s health care reform bill passed but only after the House was allowed to vote on and pass the Stupak Amendment to remove abortion funding. The New York Times has an article on what happened behind the scenes. Basically, if the Stupak amendment didn’t get a vote, then the Nancy Pelosi didn’t have the votes to pass health care reform.
Her attempts at winning them over had failed, and Ms. Pelosi, the first woman speaker and an ardent defender of abortion rights, had no choice but to do the unthinkable. To save the health care bill she had to give in to abortion opponents in her party and allow them to propose tight restrictions barring any insurance plan that is purchased with government subsidies from covering abortions.

Here’s the roll call vote on the Stupak Amendment. The text provides that “No funds authorized or appropriated by this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) may be used to pay for any abortion or to Cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion, except in the case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, or unless the pregnancy is the result of an' act of rape or incest.”

What’s interesting in many reactions from abortion advocates is that they act like the Stupak Amendment makes it illegal to purchase insurance which covers abortion. In the New York Times article, Congresswoman Rose DeLauro even claims the Stupak Amendment prohibits women “from access to an abortion even if they pay for it with their own money.”

NARAL’s press release claims the Stupak Amendment “would have the effect of denying women the right to use their own personal private funds to purchase an insurance plan with abortion coverage in the new health system — a radical departure from the status quo.”

Planned Parenthood’s press release seems to also criticize a woman’s decision making when it attempts to explain why having women buy abortion riders is such a bad idea:
“But such abortion riders do not exist because women do not plan to have unintended pregnancies or medically complicated pregnancies that require ending the pregnancy. These so-called ‘abortion riders,’ which would be the only insurance policy through which abortion care could be covered in the ‘exchange,’ are discriminatory and illogical.”

So the Stupak Amendment is “discriminatory and illogical” because women choose not to purchase abortion riders?

A major battle has been won but the fight to make certain that health care reform doesn’t include abortion funding is far from over as abortion advocates are sure to push for it to be included in the Senate version of the bill and in the conference committee.

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