Jeralyn Merritt at TalkLeft has done some exemplary analysis of Health Care Reform and the Stupak amendment added this weekend to the health insurance reform bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives Saturday night. Examples: see here, here, and then she asks, “How About Pre-Natal and Birth Care for Pregnant Undocumented Women” in the U.S. who will necessarily give birth to U.S. citizens? She links to a Mother Jones story that explains exactly how odious this particular poison pill is in “Stupak is a Radical Change:”
Mother Jones: Why Stupak is more radical than you think.
The two parts to the Stupak amendment:
The Stupak amendment mandates that no federal funds can be used to pay for an abortion or “cover any part of any health plan” that includes coverage of an abortion, except in cases where the mother’s life is in danger or the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest.
Part 1 is just the Hyde Amendment. But, part 2?
Where pro-lifers won big was on the second part, which could significantly limit the availability of private insurance plans that cover the procedure. That’s because Stupak’s amendment doesn’t just apply to the public option—the lower-cost plan to be offered by the government.
The House health care bill will also provide subsidies to help people and small businesses purchase plans on an exchange. This represents a lucrative new market for insurers: anyone earning less than $88,000 for a family of four qualifies for assistance, as well as certain small companies. But to gain access to these new customers, insurers will have to drop abortion coverage from their plans.
That’s A-OK with the forced pregnancy crowd, who are apparently unfamiliar with how private health insurance works now: we all pay into a big pot, and then we make claims–and yes, those claims are sometimes to cover abortions and all sorts of other medical procedures of which you may or may not approve. There’s lots of money from premiums paid by people of all political persuasions–pro-choice, pro-life, anti-immigrant, pro-immigrant, etc.–and it all goes to cover services provided to everyone. It’s stupid for people get all excited when it comes to their pooled tax dollars, as opposed to their pooled private insurance dollars. What’s next? So-called “pro-lifers” will demand that their municipal and state taxes not pay for roads driven on or library books checked out by citizens who differ in their political views?
Oh, and the Stupak amendment contains one of those “life, rape, or incest” qualifiers, which is the biggest load of hot, steaming B.S. ever. If fetal life is so sacred (an opinion I respect, by the way, although I think it should remain an opinion and not a matter of law), why permit the elective abortion of fetuses who are the result of rape or incest? They have no part in their own conception, unless you’re of the mindest of the Mather boys and believe in original sin. Rapists are criminals, but the fetuses they may create are as innocent as any fetuses who are the result of a consensual sex act. The conditions of conception and/or consent of the woman or girl involved shouldn’t make a difference if you’re really “pro-life” and not just against elective abortions of which you personally disapprove.
But, grasping the complexity of what we like to call “reality” has never been the strong suit of the forced pregnancy brigade. Anyone who has had an appointment with an OB/GYN knows that the medical term “abortion” is more plastic than the term “abortion” is in political discourse. We are asked to document the number of “abortions” we’ve had–and medically speaking, “abortions” are any pregnancy that didn’t result either in a stillbirth or birth of a live child. (“Spontaneous abortion” is the more refined term for what’s popularly called a miscarriage.) Politically speaking, “abortion” is an elective procedure that selfish and/or evil women procure to terminate a pregnancy that’s the result of their sluttly, slutty behavior.
A good friend of mine has had two “abortions” in the past two years. The first time she was informed about 12 weeks into her pregnancy by her physician that the very much wanted fetus she was carrying had actually died at about 8 weeks’ gestation. The second time, she was informed again at about 10 weeks’ gestation that the fetus she was carrying was so small and had such a weak and sporadic heartbeat that it was extremely unlikely to live. In both cases, she had “abortions” to remove the fetal tissue, and to attempt to get her uterus back to normal as soon as possible so that it would be prepared to host a very-much-wanted pregnancy she hoped would lead to a live birth. In both cases, the idea of waiting for a “spontaneous abortion” was unpleasant and disturbing to her–some women undoubtedly choose differently, but that was her choice. The removal of either live or dead fetal tissue calls for the same procedure–only when you check into a hospital, it’s usually called by the clinical and less political term “D & C” (“Dilation and Curettage” of the uterus.) Here’s a similar story, if you want more of the details–h/t Susie at Suburban Guerrilla.
When we peel back the mysteries of gynecology and obstetrics, we find that it’s a world of shades of gray, and that “abortions” happen all of the time–sometimes they’re “spontaneous,” sometime elective, and sometimes like my friend’s abortions, they’re in-between. And all of these mysteries happen to all kinds of women, whether or not they’re happy, sad, or ambivalent about their pregnancies. Women’s bodies are apparently just too complicated, disgusting, and leaky, with all of their alluring and yet disturbing apertures that blur the boundaries between the self and others, to fit neatly into the categories that posturing politicians devise for them. So-called “pro-life” women who have experienced any kind of abortion know this, as do their pro-choice sisters. Who among us can say what’s right for someone else’s body, someone else’s life, and someone else’s family? How can crude laws serve people’s most intimate medical needs well, unless they affirm each woman’s Fourth Amendment right to privacy and bodily sovereignty?
Hooray for Diana DeGette and at least 40 other Dems who say they’ll kill health insurance reform unless the Stupak amendment is stripped. Fie on all those Dems who don’t get it. If this doesn’t get fixed, we Dems who favor little things like equal protection under the law had better think seriously about registering as independents and staying home or casting only protest votes next year.