In which women’s access to abortion becomes public-optional
From GT 2009-08-20: Tonight, in News of the Obvious:
And in breaking news from NARAL Pro-Choice America, it turns out that government provision of healthcare means that women's healthcare will be allocated through a political process, and when women's reproductive healthcare is allocated through a political process, women's reproductive healthcare ends up being subjected to the vicissitudes of political debate over abortion.
NARAL may not draw the conclusion from its report, but the editorial board here at News of the Obvious will: setting aside outright political prohibitions, which aren't likely to pass in the near future, a broad expansion of political control over women's healthcare is the single worst thing that could possibly happen towards undermining women's access to abortion and reproductive medicine.
The House of Representatives just recently passed an omnibus health insurance bill which includes extensive new government involvement in health insurance and a
strong public option of broad-based government-provided health insurance. The explicit purpose of this bill is to expand political control and political funding in the health insurance industry — to expand government’s role and responsibility in directly paying for healthcare and medical procedures, and to shift more of the money coming in to for-profit health insurance companies away from private sources, and towards government funding sources.
Progressive organizations on the male Left — groups like MoveOn and SEIU and the AFL-CIO — have been celebrating the passage of the House bill as a great big win. MoveOn.org calls it
historic health care reform and headlines their front page
Victory!; now they are staging
Countdown to Change rallies to thank
those representatives who stood with the American people (by this, they mean those that voted for expanding the scope of the American government). In an e-mail circulated to their mailing list, the AFL-CIO called it
a truly historic movement and called on supporters to pressure their Senators to pass a similar bill in order to ensure
Just one little problem about this Huge Step Forward: turns out that, if it passes the Senate too, it will strip millions of women of access to abortion, by using strings attached to the new government funding to stop both the
public option health insurance plans and plans offered by existing insurance companies from covering abortion procedures.
From the National Organization for Women:
The House of Representatives has dealt the worst blow to women’s fundamental right to self-determination in order to buy a few votes for reform of the profit-driven health insurance industry. We must protect the rights we fought for in Roe v. Wade. We cannot and will not support a health care bill that strips millions of women of their existing access to abortion.
Birth control and abortion are integral aspects of women’s health care needs. Health care reform should not be a vehicle to obliterate a woman’s fundamental right to choose.
The Stupak Amendment goes far beyond the abusive Hyde Amendment, which has denied federal funding of abortion since 1976. The Stupak Amendment, if incorporated into the final version of health insurance reform legislation, will:
- Prevent women receiving tax subsidies from using their own money to purchase private insurance that covers abortion;
- Prevent women participating in the public health insurance exchange, administered by private insurance companies, from using 100 percent of their own money to purchase private insurance that covers abortion;
- Prevent low-income women from accessing abortion entirely, in many cases.
NOW calls on the Senate to pass a health care bill that respects women’s constitutionally protected right to abortion and calls on President Obama to refuse to sign any health care bill that restricts women’s access to affordable, quality reproductive health care.
—Terry O’Neill, National Organization for Women (2009-11-08): NOW Opposes Health Care Bill That Strips Millions of Women of Abortion Access Says Bill Obliterates Women’s Fundamental Right to Choose
Once again, this should come as no surprise. Government health insurance means political allocation for women’s healthcare — for any and every one of the women who is moved over to
public options and public-private partnerships on the
public health insurance exchanges.
Political allocation of women’s healthcare means that women’s healthcare will be subjected to political debate and sacrificed in the name of political compromises — which, in this country, means being subjected and sacrificed to the Gentleman’s Agreement between anti-choice partisans, on the one hand, and, on the other, the doughface politicos, who just don’t give much of a damn about women’s lives or health or freedom, and are happy to treat them as optional as long as they’ve got a bill to pass or a Democrat to elect.
This healthcare bill, authored by Democrats, pushed by Democrats, and supposedly a key aspect of the male liberal’s agenda for
Progressive social change, will almost certainly mean a massive government-sponsored assault on women’s access to abortion. Women’s bodies are not public property; women’s health should not be subject to
public controversy or dependent on the approval of the
public (which means, in fact, the loudest and most belligerent voices in politics). But as long as government is calling the shots on women’s healthcare, women’s healthcare is always going to be compromised and sacrificed in the name of political agendas. The only way to make sure that women’s healthcare will no longer be treated as public-optional is real radical healthcare reform — not by preserving the government-regimented corporatist status quo, but rather by getting government out of healthcare entirely — by cutting the government strings that always come attached to government money — by getting rid of government subsidy and government regimentation and replacing them with grassroots mutual aid, abortion funds, community-supported free clinics, and other forms of low-cost healthcare free of political control because they are supported by free association and community organizing, rather than taxation and political allocation. That is to say, by taking the funding for women’s healthcare out of the hands of politicians, and putting in the hands of women themselves.
Expanding government control of healthcare funding is anti-choice, anti-woman, and would represent the single biggest assault on women’s access to abortion in the last 30 years.