Today's Question: Does the House provision on abortion coverage go too far?

Friday, November 13, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CST

While opponents of abortion rights celebrated the restriction on abortion coverage the House included in its version of the health care bill, groups supporting a woman's right to choose worried about what the provision means to the wider spectrum of abortion rights and what the Senate would include in its version of the bill.

Added just before the House passed the bill on Saturday, the Stupak amendment states that federal money cannot be used to pay for insurance plans that cover abortions not performed for medical reasons or in situations involving sexual assault. Because federal subsidies would be used to help low- and middle-income people pay for abortions, some feared the ban would motivate insurers to drop elective abortion benefits from their plans to reach a broader market. Women choosing to have an elective abortion would have to pay for the procedure themselves or purchase supplemental coverage, although the latter suggests women would plan for an unwanted pregnancy.

Missouri is one of five states that already prohibits private insurance plans from including elective abortion coverage. Abortion rights supporter Sen. Claire McCaskill said the Stupak amendment is an example of concessions the more liberal members of her party must make to govern with moderate and conservative Democrats whose support she says is key to the Democratic party's majority status.

Named for its author Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich, the amendment is more restrictive than the option House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other Congressional leaders preferred. That option included an accounting structure that would require plans covering elective abortions to store federal money and premiums and co-pays used to purchase the plan into two separate accounts. The federal money could not be used to pay for the procedure.

President Barack Obama said the House needed to change the bill to keep the current principle is in place. Democratic Reps. Diana DeGette, Colo., and Louise Slaughter, N.Y., led the group that wrote to Nancy Pelosi vowing not to back a final conference report that restricted women's right to choose.

The provision in the House bill may make it more difficult for abortion rights advocates to get favorable legislation in the Senate version of the health care bill, but the majority of senators' records support abortion rights.

How significant a victory is the Stupak amendment for anti-abortion groups?

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Eric Cox November 13, 2009 | 10:40 a.m.

"Federal Money" WTF is that? It's my money, this is the government telling me I can't use my money to buy insurance that covers legal medical procedures, and it's B.S.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro November 14, 2009 | 3:55 p.m.

Eric Cox says:
"Federal Money" WTF is that? It's my money, this is the government telling me I can't use my money to buy insurance that covers legal medical procedures, and it's B.S.

-I agree Eric.
Maybe we need to modify the conditions and the manner in which this "legal medical procedure" known as ABORTION is approved.
Perhaps a team approach including the mother, the dad, the woman's family, the doctor, a grief counselor, a spiritual/clergy person, and an attorney might be in order, considering that human life is being terminated.
Perhaps, afterwards, we can even begin showing how much we care about this loss of life by calling in a mortician and maybe having a funeral service, just out of respect.
Here lies my dead fetus.
Time for gubment cheese.

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox November 15, 2009 | 8:20 a.m.

ray shapiro, thanks for emphasizing my point, You are rambling, make little sense, and are completely speculative.

Which is why we can't allow people like you to make medical decisions for the rest of us.

I'm not here supporting abortion I'm here opposing right wing Christian nut jobs determining what is a allowable medical procedure based on a 2,00 year old superstition.

I also opposed the health care bill so hopefully this will be a moot point anyway.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro November 15, 2009 | 9:51 a.m.

Superstition or not, for much more then 2,000 years, human beings have had the inclination that following some good loving, a woman's belly grows and if you put your ear to her stomach one can hear a heart beating and if you watch real closely the "baby" inside her kicks and moves around.
And, for much more then 2,000 years, if you left well enough alone, a new child would be born into this world and nature would prevail over superstition.

Of course now, the superstition is that if one chooses to kill off that heartbeating, kicking, thriving, living "baby to be" that you will have no consequences to face and you will be avoiding the horrors of child-rearing and parenting and be able to continue on your path of hedonistic, self-centered, selfish, disposable relationship living. Unburdened.
Now,this new "superstition" seems to want to categorize pregnancy as some kind of disease, illness or sickness.
I consider the inability for these moms to be able to or unwilling to bond with the baby growing inside them as the real sickness.
If there's some residual believers who embrace that life is sacred and it's against nature to kill off a growing baby inside its mother, then so be it.
Superstitions are funny, that way.

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox November 15, 2009 | 10:39 a.m.

Well that's awesome Ray, not even saying you're wrong, and if people want to believe that I think they should.

If you want to argue if abortion should be legal fine but that's not what I'm talking about argue with someone else.

The question is "Does the House provision on abortion coverage go too far?" And my opinion is yes, because it is currently a legal medical procedure. And I worry about setting a precedent of the government denying certain medical procedures based on religious beliefs.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro November 15, 2009 | 4:09 p.m.


Personally, I don't know if not including federally administered monies in the abortion pool is solely based on Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish or Wiccaan beliefs.
Religious beliefs or living beliefs?
Religious beliefs or political career beliefs?
Religious beliefs or actuarial beliefs?
Religious beliefs or common sense beliefs?
Will nose jobs, tooth extractions, liposuction and nail clipping be covered by the government?
These too can be considered "legal" medical procedures which remove parts of our body.
What would happen if there was a 9 month wait for government provided abortions?Afterall, when it's "free," everyone will want one.
I do agree with you that the bill went too far. It was passed. Marginally.

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox November 15, 2009 | 4:43 p.m.


I think it's pretty safe to say if it were not for Christian based organizations this provision would not be included.

And Ray as far as those other procedures I would say as long as the government doesn't tell me I can't have a tooth extracted because god doesn't love those with less than 32 teeth, it doesn't really pertain to this argument.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro November 15, 2009 | 8:06 p.m.

I have eleven toes.
God must love me more.

(Report Comment)

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