As President Obama pushes health care reform through its latest round,
aiming for final passage by Easter, abortion remains a contentious
issue. Moderate Democrats, led by Rep. Bart Stupak, have made clear
that they may kill health care
if the abortion provisions are not sufficiently strict. But liberal Democrats have signaled they're willing to walk away
from any bill they don't like. So clearly abortion provisions are going
to be a major deciding factor. Here's what health care could do to
abortion as the bills stand today. But those bills are still in play
and much could change between now and the final votes.
- Gov't Already Subsidizing Abortions, Will Continue To The Washington Post's Matt Miller scoffs,
"This entire debate is ridiculous, because the feds already subsidize
abortions massively, via the giant tax subsidy for employer-provided
care. Today the feds devote at least $250 billion a year to subsidizing
employer-based coverage," most of which include abortion coverage.
Moderate Dems like Stupak are "taking on the much larger, long-standing
federal subsidy for insurance policies that cover abortion, not the
tiny, theoretical one on which he’s focused. My guess is his devotion
to a higher principle -- political self-preservation -- means he’ll
ignore this inconvenient fact."
- Stupak Hits Poor Women Hard The Washington Post's Ezra Klein emphasizes
that Rep. Stupak's abortion restriction provision "is as much about
class as it is about choice." The legislation wouldn't prevent ongoing
federal government subsidization of abortion coverage. Rather, it would
halt government subsidization or abortion coverage for poor women. It
does this by only targeting health insurance options designed for
- It Will be Feminist-Friendly Talking Points Memo's Theda Skocpol argues
feminists should get on board. "'FEMINISTS' who are pushing on
abortion-funding limits rather than supporting American women need to
examine their consciences. NOW’s obsession over abortion is, in effect,
betraying a long tradition of American women’s advocacy on behalf of
the wellbeing of families and the poor. Poor women cannot now get
publicly funded abortions, and middle class women will always get what
they need. At issue now is a health reform that will extend critical
resources to millions of ordinary women."
- Worth The Compromise Think Progress's Matthew Yglesias sympathizes
with opposition on abortion, but sees the greater good. "Undue focus on
the abortion-funding provisions is missing the forest for the trees.
Not only will the bill give subsidized health insurance to currently
uninsured poor women, but the requirement that insurance companies not
charge women higher premiums than men will be a financial boon to
middle class single women. As a matter of principle, discriminating
against abortion services is indefensible. But in practice, the need to
pay out of pocket for abortions is going to be far offset by other
benefits women are getting."
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