Bart Stupak (D-MI) has penned an Op-ed at the New York Times today attempting to clear up some of the issues raised by his amendment to the healthcare bill.
For those of you who do not know, the Stupak Ammendment basically forbids government spending from the healthcare bill to go paying for abortions. You should read what he has to say on the matter, but it's largely irrelevant to the two points I'm going to make.
I heard on NPR this morning, one democratic congresswoman (whose name I have forgotten) complaining bitterly about the amendment, citing that just because the bill doesn't forbid outside insurance policies from providing money for abortions, doesn't mean that private insurance companies can or will provide for them. Conservative claims to the contrary are obfuscations and lies. The whole point of the amendment is to reduce women's access to their freedom of choice. If private insurance companies were lining up for a windfall here--the amendment would have been DOA. It's disgusting to me that a Democrat from Michigan would be a sponsor for this amendment--but that's another story.
http://www.nyabortions.com/ claims that an abortion in New York can cost between $350 and $450, depending on the stage of the procedure. A hefty price tag.
My other complaint about the amendment is that I think it's racist and elitist. Of course, it will appeal to anyone whose opposed to abortions, no matter their race or income level, but that's the level that will be principally effected by the healthcare bill. It seems to me that if Republicans were really sincere about combatting "welfare queens" they wouldn't be providing a legit basis for more impoverished women to have more children. The amendment is racist because this will effect a disproportionate number of the lower class, many of whom are black or latino. The bill is obviously elitist because the rich, and the middle class, will be largely unaffected.
So maybe that's what Mr. Stupak is trying for--a sop to the Republican party. Here's a reason to vote for healthcare that won't really effect any of your constituents. If that's the case, it could be a brilliant move.
At anyrate--I still find that it outrageous that public policy is decided on such personal body issues. I mean, maybe I should start a Non-Circumcision PAC, so that we can finally end the war in Afghanistan. No wait. Looks like someone already has. Or wait another one. Seriously, don't these people have better things to do with their time?