The health care reform bill passed by the House last weekend doesn't allow an abortion to be part of a benefit package bought by anyone who gets a government tax credit to help pay for the insurance.
Put another way:
Abortion would not be paid for in plans offered by a government-run insurance system. Also, people who took federal subsidies to buy insurance would not be able to use the money to buy such coverage.
It's enough to make this progressive scream. Aaaarrrrrggghhh! And I'm not even a woman, nor a man of child-bearing capability.
Along that line, I got a vasectomy before my re-marriage nineteen years ago. I'd had a child in my first marriage. I didn't want another one. My second wife-to-be felt the same way.
But when I went to talk with my family doctor about this, he didn't want to perform a vasectomy. "You're only 40," he said. "What if you want to eventually have another child?"
I told him that I was sure I didn't. He was still very reluctant. That creeped me out. Who was this guy to tell me what I should do with my sperm? I ended up going to another doctor.
This experience gives me some insight into how women feel who want an abortion, yet face roadblocks in getting one. This procedure is legal. So why is it often so difficult to have an abortion?
Because too many people in this country believe that it's OK to stick their noses into other peoples' private lives. Including a distressing number of Democrats who voted for the House abortion amendment.
Apparently women buying plans in the government exchange will be able to purchase an insurance rider that covers abortions. That's better than being excluded from coverage altogether.
However, I don't see why people who get government help to buy health insurance can't be treated like those who purchase private insurance on their own. After all:
Remember the promises? Reform was about expanding choices, not allowing government to come between you and your doctor, no one will lose their coverage, and if you like your current plan you get to keep it. Apparently being female is a preexisting condition that exempts us from the promises, too.
My Regence Blue Cross of Oregon individual plan seems to include coverage for abortions. It's not crystal clear from the contract that I looked through this afternoon, but there's no mention of abortion in the list of stuff that isn't covered (like cosmetic surgery, massage, and such).
Fortunately, it looks like President Obama recognizes the absurdity of reducing health insurance options for women. He wants the abortion restrictions in the House health care bill changed.
President Obama suggested Monday that he was not comfortable with abortion restrictions inserted into the House version of major health care legislation, and he prodded Congress to revise them.
...On the one hand, Mr. Obama said, “we’re not looking to change what is the principle that has been in place for a very long time, which is federal dollars are not used to subsidize abortions.”
On the other hand, he said, he wanted to make sure “we’re not restricting women’s insurance choices,” because he had promised that “if you’re happy and satisfied with the insurance that you have, it’s not going to change.”
In the end, I suspect Obama will get his way. But it's irritating to see most Republicans in the House, and a loud minority of Democrats, treating women like second-class health care citizens.
A poll found that 71% of voters favor including reproductive services like birth control and abortion as part of health care reform. Hopefully they'll remember this come election time in 2010 and vote out the House members who are ignoring the will of the people.