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What All Women Need To Know About Health Care Reform And Abortion

Have you been following health care reform? Earlier this autumn, I was rushing home from work to watch Hardball every night. Then all those “town hall” people screaming about Nazism irritated me so much I’ve mostly tuned out. But there is one health care reform issue I’ve followed closely and that is abortion coverage under President Obama’s plan. Now, if you watched Obama’s big speech about health care reform, he stated loud-and-clear that abortion would not be funded under his public health care plan. Unfortunately, nothing in politics is ever that easily explained…OK, I will try to explain this as simply as possible because it is kind of complicated:

Under the Obama plan, politicians argue that a woman could use a government subsidy to pay a private insurance company that covers abortion costs. Indeed, over the summer, they backed a provision which would allow women to use government subsidies to pay private insurance companies that cover abortion, but they specified that only the individual or her employer should contribute to that cost.

Critics of that provision, however, say the government subsidies and the personal/employer contributions are all mixed together when it comes to coverage. The lead critic, Democratic Senator Bart Stupak of Michigan, has warned politicians that he has 40 democrats behind him who will veto Obama’s health care bill unless that private insurance matter isn’t allowed. Since nearly all Republican pols don’t back the Obama health care plan, democrats really need those 40 pols. [Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor]

Personally, I couldn’t care less if my tax money were used to pay for abortions, whether through public health care (which Obama already nixed) or through subsidies to private insurance companies which cover abortion. I’d be happy if my tax money covered birth control and other family planning services too. If covering the cost of family planning and abortion means fewer unwanted children are brought into the world, I’m happy about that. Critics argue that some people don’t support a woman’s right to end her pregnancy; therefore, taxpayers’ money shouldn’t cover it. But for that matter, money from taxes never goes to anything everyone agrees on — like the war in Iraq and No Child Left Behind. We may not be happy about what some of our hard-earned cash is going towards, but we still pay our taxes. Well, maybe not Willie Nelson and some others.

Pro-choice supporters believe that every woman should be able to end a pregnancy she doesn’t want, not just the financially well-off women who could afford to pay for an abortion out-of-pocket. This health care coverage of abortion issue is, unfortunately, one which will end up impacting cash-strapped middle-class and poor women who need insurance company coverage to pay for an abortion the same way they’d need insurance company coverage to pay for a broken arm.

So what do you all think? (And let’s keep it civil, shall we?)

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