House Passes “No Abortions For Poor Ladies” Bill On Roe v. Wade Anniversary
After backing down from a controversial bill that would make abortion illegal after 20 weeks, the Republican controlled House passed another anti-abortion bill today, called “The No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion” Act. Coincidentally, today is also the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that deemed abortion a decision to be made privately between a woman and her doctor.
This bill will prevent women from having their abortions covered by Medicaid, restrict her ability to buy insurance that covers abortions, block federal funds for abortion for women serving in the military, and prevent Washington, D.C. from using local funds to help women pay for abortions. It would also get rid of a tax break given to small businesses who provide their female employees with insurance that covers abortion.
Like every other anti-abortion legislation attempt, those hit hardest by this bill will be poor women. Women with money — say, like women serving in the House of Representatives, or immediate relations of people serving in the House of Representatives — will actually not be hit at all by this bill. It literally targets only low-income women who cannot afford the procedure on their own. Which probably does not bode well for their ability to afford to have a baby in the first place. If they do have one, the people passing this legislation are going to be the first ones complaining about these women going on welfare, or opposing free preschool or childcare. They tend to stop caring about babies immediately after they exit the womb.
I honestly do understand the position of those who oppose abortion and thus don’t want their money to be used to fund it. I get that.
However, much of my tax money has gone to fund many things I find immoral. It has gone to fund wars, it has gone to fund torture, it has gone to fund jails where people are being kept for years due to non-violent drug offenses, it has gone to fund death penalty cases, it has gone to bail out banks who screwed people over, and it has gone to pay the salaries of the same House Republicans who are currently trying to chip away at my right to choose. So a part of me kind of just wants to say, “Hey, tough shit.”
The White House has stated they will veto this bill if it comes down to it, and thank goodness for that.
But it’s still worrisome. My stomach is still in a knot. Because it’s hard not to think of the tragedy a bill like this could bring. I don’t want to think about a woman being unable to afford a safe and legal abortion and turning to wire hangers or drinking pennyroyal tea, or throwing herself down the stairs. People do desperate things in desperate situations. I care about life, too, you know. I care about the lives of women. I don’t want women to die because they couldn’t afford an abortion.
Making abortion illegal will not end abortion, it will only end safe abortions. For poor women. It will never end safe abortions for women who have the means to travel for one, which means the lives of those voting on legislation like this will never be the ones affected by it. I’m not going to lie–that bothers me.
There are better ways to make abortion more rare than to just ban it outright or prevent poor women from having safe ones. Access to birth control, which we often fight with these same people about, is one of those ways. It’s probably the biggest way. There is also the option of supporting social programs that assist women with the financial cost of having a child, supporting universal healthcare and subsidized daycare, supporting raising the minimum wage. All of those things are far more likely to actually reduce abortion and “taxpayer funded” abortion than any ban is likely to do. [New York Times]