Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Stupak/Pitts pro-death amendment

Yesterday, George Washington University released an analysis of what's going to happen in the health care industry as a result of the Stupak/Pitts amendment to the Affordable Health Care for America bill (H.R. 3962).

The GWU report nicely summarizes the language of the amendment:
The amendment bans federal funding for abortions and bars payment of federal subsidies to health insurance products sold in exchanges that cover most medically indicated abortions.

Emphasis mine. You can read the report for yourself, but the upshot is that under Stupak/Pitts, the insurance industry would change its policies to eliminate health plan coverage for medically indicated abortions.

And that, I have a problem with.

It's one thing to believe that tax dollars shouldn't fund abortions of convenience, or abortions of "right now just isn't a good time for me to have a baby." If somebody screws up (no pun intended) and decides they don't want to deal with the natural consequences, I'm kind of ok with them paying for that on their own. They should still have access to legal, safe abortions, but let it be on their dime.

It is, however, an entirely different matter to say that abortions that are necessary for the health of the woman shouldn't be covered by health insurance. Notice how "health" appears twice in that sentence? Can you spot the contradiction, Stupak?

Take my sister. A few years ago, when she and her husband were just starting out in their new life together, she got pregnant. They were both delighted about this, until a couple of months later she woke up in the middle of the night doubled-over in pain. Cue the ambulance ride, the hours of fear and terror while waiting to learn what was wrong.

Diagnosis: ectopic pregnancy.
An ectopic pregnancy is a medical emergency, and, if not treated properly, can lead to death. (Wikipedia)

Treatment: emergency surgery. Or in other words, a medically indicated abortion to protect the health and life of the woman. Of my sister.

Now thank god they had insurance. Thank god her treatment was covered. They're already struggling with a mountain of student loan debt. Thank god that this medical emergency didn't put them in bankruptcy like so many Americans. My sister lost the baby, and she lost one of her ovaries, but she didn't lose her life, and she didn't wind up in the poor-house.

And that's the real lie, the deep hypocrisy of politicians like Stupak and Pitts, who stand in the way of real progress for real Americans so they can score some cheap political points with conservatives.

Because we all know that without coverage, treatment just doesn't happen. And without treatment, women like my sister will die.

If medically indicated abortions aren't covered in any insurance plan you can buy from anywhere--which is what will happen under Stupak/Pitts--then those treatments aren't going to happen, and women will die.

Stupak and Pitts and everyone else who voted for that execrable amendment they love to stand up and say they're all pro-life and pat themselves on the back and smile their smug holier-than-thou smiles.

Well that's crap. It's a lie, pure and simple. There is no justification for clamping down on medically indicated abortions. There's nothing "pro-life" about that: if the mother dies, the fetus dies too. That's what's at stake in many medically indicated abortions. Eliminating health care coverage for those procedures doesn't save anybody.

If the anti-abortion crowd has any shred of moral and intellectual honesty in them, if they're as "pro-life" as they claim, they'll call on the Senate and House to strip Stupak/Pitts out of the health care bill during the committee process.

Because it's not "pro-life." It's a pro-death amendment. Make no mistake: under Stupak/Pitts, women will die.


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