Democrats join Republicans in giving reproductive rights the finger
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.