Liberals Riot Over Pro-Life Health Care Bill

The abortion-limiting Stupak amendment may save health care reform at the cost of a divided party

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The Stupak amendment, proposed Saturday by House Democrat Bart Stupak, restricts federal funding from going towards abortions. This may not sound groundbreaking, but because the House bill expands the scope of government-funded health care, the Stupak amendment would also expand restrictions on abortion. While the amendment may have saved health care reform, it will severely limit abortion rights in the U.S. The development has liberal Democrats, particularly women, threatening to divide the party.

  • Abortions For Rich Only  The Washington Post's Ezra Klein explains that anyone who participates in government-run insurance will have no abortion coverage. "The idea that people are going to go out and purchase separate 'abortion plans' is both cruel and laughable. If this amendment passes, it will mean that virtually all women with insurance through the exchange who find themselves in the unwanted and unexpected position of needing to terminate a pregnancy will not have coverage for the procedure. Abortion coverage will not be outlawed in this country. It will simply be tiered, reserved for those rich enough to afford insurance themselves or lucky enough to receive from their employers."
  • Democrats' Women Problem  Rachel Maddow said on Meet the Press that "the biggest restriction on abortion access in this country in a generation" would cause liberal women to waver in their support of Democrats. "I think you can expect Democratic women to sit on their hands at least if not revolt if that doesn't get taken out in conference."
  • Primary Challenges for 'Betrayal'  FireDogLake's Rayne insists that the 64 Democrats who voted for Stupak should be run out of office. "Stupak Amendment Passes; 64 Dems Ask for Primary Opponents," she writes. "We've fought long and hard to protect this right. And now we’ve seen decades of work to protect this fundamental human right dashed by our own Democratic representatives."
  • Kill Health Care Reform  Taylor Marsh insists in the Huffington Post that no reform at all would be preferable. "Obama opened the door to sell us out" and House Democrats followed suit. "Democrats just sold us out too. Progressives in the House should have killed the bill. Civil rights begin with autonomy over our own body."
  • 'A Vagina Added Tax'  TBogg snarks it up. "Hey ladies! [Republican] Congressman Pete Sessions of Texas thinks you should pay more for your insurance because you chose to have all that crazy plumbing with its nook and crannies down there instead of a good old fashioned American penis," the liberal blogger writes. "No word on whether this will affect the dickless Democrats who voted against health care."
  • It Gets Worse  The Nation's Sharon Lerner recently surveyed the shortcomings in requiring better coverage of women's health issues. None of the bills emerging from the House and Senate require insurers to cover all the elements of a standard gynecological "well visit," leaving essential care such as pelvic exams, domestic violence screening, counseling about sexually transmitted diseases, and, perhaps most startlingly, the provision of birth control off the list of basic benefits all insurers must cover. Nor are these services protected from 'cost sharing,' which means that, depending on what's in the bill that emerges from the Senate, and, later, the contents of a final bill, women could wind up having to pay for some of these services out of their own pockets."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.