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History was made last night as the House of Representatives passed a health care reform bill, and now it’s up to the Senate to pass one as well. The bill passed does have a public option and will help control health care expenses in the coming decades. This bill was not passed without significant compromise, but one of the compromises made me really angry.

Representative Bart Stupak, who is from Michigan, decided his vote was contingent on being able to offer an amendment to the health care reform bill to prevent any federal money used in the new health care exchange from paying for abortion services. Nevermind that abortion is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the United States. Nevermind that abortion is legal, and has been, for more than 30 years in the United States. Nevermind that access to abortion services is supported by the majority of Americans. To Bart Stupak, all of this is meaningless because he does not support abortion and since he gets to vote on this health care bill and you don’t, his opinion matters more than yours. The price for Bart Stupak‘s support for health care reform is simple, sacrificing women’s rights.

I find it interesting that, as a man, Bart Stupak gets to decide what medical services should be afforded to woman in this country. Rep. Stupak will never personally need to have an abortion, so I guess from his perspective it’s okay to limit peoples access to abortion services. The effect of his amendment will not outlaw abortion, but it will make it tougher for people who need an abortion to pay for it. Since the new health care exchange won’t be permitted to provide coverage for abortion services with federal money, anyone who gets insurance through the new health care exchange will need to pay out of pocket for an abortion or additional insurance to cover abortion services. I don’t know about you, but my understanding is that most woman don’t plan on having abortions so it’s going to be difficult to convince them to pay extra for a service they don’t believe they will need in the future.

To add insult to injury, the woman who are purchasing insurance on the new health care exchange are likely receiving assistance to pay for the insurance. This means it’s unlikely they can afford to purchase additional insurance to cover abortion services. In effect, this will make abortion services something that only rich women can afford, creating a tiered health care system for women. Is that what we want when we are working to expand health care to cover most, if not all, of Americans?

I can only speculate what goes through Bart Stupak‘s mind when deciding to expand health care but limit health care options for women. This reminds me of the discussion between Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Sen. Jon Kyl about providing maternity care, which I’ve provided below. The thing is, there are lots of services that I don’t use when I have health insurance, but we all pay because we don’t know when we may need those services in the future. I may not need dialysis coverage now, but if I go into renal failure in the future I’m going to be glad I have it. The money I spend to pay for health insurance covers everyone who has health insurance and it should not be up to me or Bart Stupak or anyone else what services someone else gets to receive. It should be a decision made by the patient and their doctor. End of story.

Abortion may be something that people feel icky about, but it’s a legal medical procedure that more than 1 million women utilize every year. It should not be a political bargaining chip to convince someone to support health care reform. I think we should look at passing an amendment that erectile dysfunction treatment should not be covered by any insurance offered on the new health care exchange. The reasoning is simple, if old men didn’t get boners they would not impregnant the women they are having sex with, therefore no abortion needed. However, I don’t think you would get much support for such an amendment because it discriminates against men, but I don’t see the difference between not providing coverage for abortion and not providing coverage for erectile dysfunction. Maybe Bart Stupak can explain the difference if you call his office and ask him really nice, he can be reached at (202) 225 4735.

26 Comments

  1. Gravatar for Steve Lynott

    Never mind that abortion kills the unborn child and scars the mother for life, legal or not , common or not. Rationalizations never replace reality in the long run.

    Remember that abortion has never been chosen by the people. It has always been imposed by small numbers of "intellengcia". Oh yes, and the "intellengencia" were all men.

  2. Gravatar for J K Bond

    I respectfully disagree with your premise and the wrong-headedness of your "it's OK to kill the babies" stance. It takes real courage to risk the wrath of liberal Democratic women -- in a political party that shuns those Democrats who oppose the taking of innocent human life. Did you see in their floor remarks the venom and disgust aimed against a fellow Democrat?

    You are being very political -- no doubt -- against a courageous American, Congressman Stupak, who has a lot to lose in carrying the anti-abortion amendment in this debate. He could have ignored the debate, made his pleadings privately and left it at that. However, when one goes up against their own leadership and sticks to their belief that abortion is murder and goes up against his own Democratic leadership to force this vote -- that is conviction and courage in a political body lacking both.

    Why would anyone think the Lord would condone abortion or persons' sinful support of same? This is a base belief in any truly devout person, regardless their chosen method of practicing faith.

  3. Gravatar for susan

    Great comment! It seems only fair that if women can't get a legal and private medical procedure covered, then men shouldn't get treatment covered for ED.

  4. Gravatar for Devon Glass

    J K and Steve,

    If you don't agree with abortion, then don't get one for yourself or your loved ones. However, don't tell the rest of the women in America they can't have a legal medical procedure because YOU don't like it. How would you feel if I had a moral objection to you receiving for diabetes because you should have controlled your diet better and exercised more? Or if I had the same objection to you receiving treatment for a heart attack because you failed to exercise and eat healthy? I don't to see the difference in providing treatment in either of those circumstances when compared to covering abortion services. No one is forcing you to have abortions, don't get one if you don't want one. Stop telling others how to live their lives.

  5. Gravatar for Denny

    Mr. Stupak's amendment does not hinder a woman from obtaining an abortion compared to the situation that prevails today. It does however, prevent me and many like minded Americans who are pro-life from being forced to pay any part of the cost. This is a reasonable compromise even for pro-choice people. Choice cuts bot ways.

    Let Planned Parenthood come up with their own support means to fund abortions, if they feel so strongly about it, pass the hat or come up with an insurance plan of their own, just don't expect the taxpayer to pay the tab.

    I don't mind paying for health care, but abortion is not normally a health measure at all, unless one deems pregnancy to be a disease.

    And, by the way, I think all elective medical treatments, including ED, should not be publicly funded in any way.

  6. Gravatar for Dan

    Mr. Glass,

    You missed the point of the Stupak amendment. It does not take away anyone's "rights" to an abortion. It just ensures that those of us who know it is morally wrong, won't have to pay for it.

    It would be wrong to force someone to fund an activity that they feel is clearly immoral - the stopping of the human heart.

    Dan

    P.S. Did you see the lastest news that new borns cry in the tone of their mother's language and that they can recognize their mother's voice from hundreds of others. Dont' try to convince me that you are not ending a human life. - look at the DNA!

  7. Gravatar for Devon Glass

    Dan and Denny:

    Maybe I missed something. Was abortion outlawed since I posted my article this morning? Unless that's the case, it is a legal medical procedure and you should not have the ability to limit someones access to a procedure that is allowed by law. Jehovah's Witnesses do not accept blood transfusions due to religious reasons, how would you like it if they were successful in outlawing all blood transfusions because they have a religious objection? Or what about my example of my moral objection to people who don't care for themselves receiving medical care?

    This is not a reasonable compromise because the people who can only afford the new health insurance through the exchange will likely be unable to afford the additional coverage for abortions services. The cost of the procedure or the additional insurance will be unaffordable for the women who likely need the services the most.

    What gives you the right to deny access to a legal medical procedure because you feel uncomfortable or don't like it? Let people live their own lives and stop imposing your particular point of view on the rest of America. Why do you care if someone you don't know has a medical procedure that does not have any impact on your life?

  8. Gravatar for J K Bond

    Devon

    I think in fairness to you -- we must chalk a lot of what you write to a youthful naïveté -- just as we must disregard your nonsensical comparisons of the wanton killing of babies in the womb to health responses to diabetes and heart attacks.

    Devon, where is your moral compass? Abortion is not a "democratic" issue but one of moral consequences. Would you put on the same par permitting the killing of someone's elderly relative with dementia equivalent to killing the baby in the womb -- terming it a "right" of another even as you might not do the same? PLEASE .... why is it not murder and a violation of the Ten Commandments (or do you think that is a lot of hocus pokus?)

    Do you have any belief in God ?

  9. Gravatar for Devon Glass

    J K,

    My beliefs are my own, just as yours are your own. I don't plan on telling you what you should do with your private life, as it's your life to live. I don't want the government telling women what they can and cannot do with their own bodies, especially when it comes to legal, constitutional, medical procedures. I understand you have strong beliefs about abortion and that it motivates you to do what is necessary to achieve your goals, but I don't believe you have the right to tell anyone what they should do with their own body.

    The reason it is not murder is because we are a nation of laws and not the 10 commandments. This is a country that does not have a national religion and your faith is no more important than mine in terms of what laws we should enact.

    Please also don't try to dismiss or diminish my opinions because you believe I am too young or out of my league. I have spent years studying medicine prior to becoming an attorney, and my opinions are based upon my convictions of what I believe is right under the law.

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