A health care reform passed in the House of Representatives on Saturday night, but only after politicians included an anti-abortion amendment to the bill so it could gain more support. Called the Stupack Amendment, named for Sen. Bart Stupack (D-MI), it prohibits the use of federal subsidies for private insurance plans that cover abortion. In other words, if private insurance companies want to take money from individuals who are using federal dollars to pay for their health insurance, they cannot offer abortion coverage in their plans. Critics of the amendment say it’s a move by pro-lifers to encourage private health insurance companies to drop abortion coverage entirely. [The New York Times]Health care reform needed to be passed, to be sure. But I, for one, am pissed off at the Republican and Democratic senators who used this opportunity to slowly chip away at reproductive rights. But politics is about compromise, you might say. OK, true, but critics argue that the only people who are compromised by this “compromise” are poor women. Women with financial means will always be able to scrape together the $400 to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The Stupack Amendment is stacking the deck against less privileged women, a demographic I believe government should be trying to help. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) cryptically warned The New York Times, “If enacted, this amendment will be the greatest restriction of a woman’s right to choose to pass in our careers.”
Let’s all hope more restrictions against reproductive choice aren’t still on the bargaining table as the bill goes to the Senate.