I want to be thrilled that health care legislation was passed in the House, but any joy I would have is entirely overshadowed by the incalculable rage coursing through every vein in my body. As a woman, I am incensed by the very language contained in the amendment that was tacked on tonight in order to appease politicians that seek to continue this archaic legacy of denying the natural order of our bodies and insisting that sex should occur only for procreation.
Anyone, particularly any woman, who has not heard of the Stupak amendment should look into it. Even though there is already clear legislation on the books that states no federal funds will ever go to fund an abortion procedure, that was not enough for some of our U.S. Representatives. Now, if the Stupak language stays intact, no person receiving a federal subsidy to afford insurance -- even if it's a private insurance policy they elect -- will be able to subscribe to any plan that includes abortion coverage. Instead, women would be required to purchase, with their own money, sidecar insurance for abortion.
I find it ironic that the pro-consumer Republicans are avidly against a perfectly legal consumer choice when it involves something that gets their moral hitch in a giddyup. They speak endlessly about how the government should not meddle in the private sector and should instead safeguard the freedoms consumers should have in making their own decisions -- unless it involves women's reproductive health. If it were up to them, there would be no birth control pills, no plan B, and abortion is clearly out of the question.
The idea that forcing insurance companies to create separate products excluding abortion coverage and create entirely new products to cover abortion alone would ever be an acceptable compromise is absurd. The notion of creating such a system is insulting, demeaning, and will create a scenario which endangers the bodies of women who, in needing a subsidy for insurance, likely cannot individually afford a procedure they are legally entitled to. The simple fact is that no one plans an unplanned pregnancy -- hence the term. Requiring women to purchase a plan simply to guard against an unplanned pregnancy acts as a moral fee on a woman who chooses to enjoy her body physically as biology would have her do, a physical pleasure any man could enjoy with his own body for free.
This is not equality.
Furthermore, the annually renewed Hyde amendment already states that no federal money would go toward an abortion. The public option would not offer abortion coverage. Private companies could, except the Stupak amendment works almost as an anti-incentive to offer that service since millions of potential clients would be prohibited from applying their federal subsidy as they saw fit toward a health care service they are legally free to request.
What's even more ludicrous is that any insurance company that would create a separate, subsidy-friendly, abortion-free plan will likely still offer a plan that offers abortion to its entirely private-sector consumers who could still purchase a plan including abortion coverage. So, the assertion that this amendment would stop any federal dollars from going to a company that approves of and assists in providing abortions is patently untrue.
What is true is that -- with or without the Stupak amendment -- no taxpayer money would ever be used toward an abortion procedure. Any money a private insurance company would choose to include in an insurance plan would be paid using private funds only, and whatever is not covered under the insurance plan would need to be provided by the woman and her partner -- and they are the only people who should have any involvement in this legal consumer procedure, other than the doctor. This "crackdown" is totally unnecessary.
And when does it stop? Are we going to later amend that no federal money will go toward birth control prescriptions? Perhaps we should also make it so no federal subsidy money could go to a man with an insurance policy that would cover a vasectomy or a prescription for Viagra or Cialis. Let's see how well that goes over.
Perhaps the most deplorable part of all is that this single, inflated issue has put a smudge on this American victory and will now overtake the debate of providing much-needed doctors to millions of Americans who currently can't afford an annual check-up. This hot-button issue was no doubt chosen to rile and distract from a historic accomplishment and a human rights triumph, and it's working.