The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Women’s Right to Abortion under Attack

Nov 23, 2009

BOTH the House and the Senate health care bills attack a woman’s access to abortion. The House bill just does it more directly.

The House bill includes an amendment proposed by two Democrats, Brad Ellsworth of Indiana and Bart Stupak of Michigan, that outright bans abortion coverage from the public plan AND from any private plan that wants to be included in the insurance “exchange” where the uninsured can buy coverage. That means that no plan offered to uninsured people, public or private, would cover the cost of an abortion.

The Senate bill is more sneaky. It says that plans included in the “exchange” can offer abortion coverage – but that they must make sure that no public money is used to pay for them. Insurance companies would need to keep a convoluted and detailed set of books showing that money from non-public sources was used for these procedures, while money from public sources did not go to them.

Faced with that bookkeeping nightmare, most insurers will simply choose not to cover abortions and be done with it. So the “choice” that the Senate bill supposedly offers is a lie.

Supposedly, too, the Senate bill will require that at least one plan in each state must offer abortion coverage – while at least one plan must NOT offer abortion coverage. What does that mean for women? Will they have to buy it in addition to their regular coverage, at an additional price? Cost is why they don’t have insurance in the first place!

The end result is the same in both bills: many, many more women, especially lower-income women, will find themselves unable to get an abortion.

If that’s not an attack on abortion rights, what is?

This is how Democrats have long pretended to protect the rights of women to choose abortions, and it has always been a lie. Women won the right to abortion for themselves through their organization, mobilization and demonstrations. THEY forced the court to recognize their rights in 1973.

While Republicans have carried out an open attack on women’s rights ever since, Democrats have been giving away that right – chipping away at it bit by bit, while claiming to “protect” the right as a whole. These health care bills are the latest, biggest attack.