The Misadventures of Quinxy truths, lies, and everything in between!

21Dec/090

Stupak-Pitts: Politics is Tough, Compromises are Miserable, But Required

In preface to what I'm about to say, let me disclose that my opinion on the topic of abortion is complicated. Essentially my position is a big I don't know.

While I do feel like the Stupak-Pitts amendment to the health care bill currently travelling through the senate is in part a sneaky Republican ploy to further their anti-abortion agenda (as well as genuine indignation/moral stand), the Democrats can't win passage of the bill without an amendment like Stupak-Pitts, and I don't think a fight over it is worth derailing health care reform.

The Republicans are not wholly unreasonable in their desire to keep public funds from funding something they find morally objectionable, though they would certainly scoff at the notion of giving the many democrats (and universal pacificists) a similar way out of having their tax dollars used to fund wars they find equally morally objectionable. 

The Democrats are not wholly unreasonable in wanting to take a moral stand on this point, in not wanting access (particularly to those in need and most vulnerable) to a legal procedure (abortion) curtailed.  They see it as a dangerous concession, to those now in need, and those in the future, this being perhaps the thin end of the wedge.

Perhaps I'm a realist, but I believe health care needs immediate reform, and that universal health care is a right, integral to our ability to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.   I believe we have no better chance than now to see universal health care put in place, and that sacrifices must be made to see that happen.

The bottom line is that the Stupak-Pitts ammendment would mean that an abortion would be an out of pocket expense.  A little googling suggests an abortion costs $300 - 400 done < 3 months and $400 - 1200 < 5 months (above that prices go up quite a bit).   I may be naive, and may not adequately appreciate the likelihood that people would once again resort to back alley abortions, but it doesn't seem like those prices are so high that people who wanted abortions would not pay out of their pocket to get them.  I had assumed most abortions were currently out of pocket expenses.  Regarding the abortion cost and someone's ability to pay, giving birth would incur a much greater expense (out of pocket) in the first month alone (food, baby supplies, etc.), so if you can work out the financing for the latter, surely you could work it out for the former.  And regarding access, I wouldn't expect that this change would impact those concerned about young teens having access to abortions without parental knowledge, since I wouldn't have thought teens could get this done without parental involvement now via health insurance.  (I can imagine this legislation and our tendency to take capitalism to its extremes might usher in a new age of multi-momth abortion financing plans. )

I do take the point that this legislation would prevent insurance companies from offering a separate option for abortion insurance coverage if that insurance company is taking federal dollars, and I do find that to be the strongest argument, yet it still comes back to the same thing, will this change significantly change people's access to abortions?  I don't see that it would

Admittedly I am used to having a PPO and paying for lots of things that aren't covered (or in full) by my health care plan, and I am fortunate enough to have had the money to pay for those things.  And I am neither pro-life nor pro-choice, so I may be missing important realties here.

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