In the wake of the Stupak amendment’s passage, which would prohibit insurers from offering abortion as a covered benefit, pro-choice groups are up in arms, which isn’t good since they tend to be strong Democrats, but it really has me asking why. After all, it’s not like the amendment denies a woman the right to choose. In most cases, an abortion only costs $300 to $400. That’s not the type of medical expense that bankrupts a person. I will grant that prohibiting insurance from paying for it might introduce financial barriers that effectively limit choice in some circumstances, but I think that’s an entirely different issue.
Indeed, for many, it’s an issue of abortion services being considered outside the realm of “ordinary” health care. But I don’t know that that’s such a strange notion. After all, plenty of people get abortions and plenty of people get plastic surgery. Both are medical procedures. Both are sometimes necessary and other times much more elective. Should all cosmetic surgery be covered? If not, then I think it’s okay to exclude abortion coverage unless the mother’s life is at risk (or in cases of rape or incest, both of which Stupak also allows). In other cases, if you can afford it on your own, go ahead. Nothing’s stopping you.
Besides, only 13% of abortions are covered by insurance now anyway, most of which would remain covered under the Stupak amendment. Is it worth denying coverage for tens of millions of Americans so that a small percentage of women continue to have access to insurer-funded abortions? Absolutely not. What concerns me the most is that such a hotly contested political issue has wedged its way into the debate and threatens to destroy the party unity that is essential to getting reformed through Congress. I’d much rather see reform passed, and the abortion issue brought up after the fact. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the Senate does and what happens in conference. Does the fun never end?