What Health Care Reform Means for Abortion Coverage

In previous posts, we discussed the abortion restrictions that kept sneaking their way in and out of the health care debate. This legislative clusterfuck was driven by conservative democrats like Rep. Bart Stupak, who were willing to hinge their support of the final bill, which does soooo many different things to address our fucked up system… based on this one. wedge. issue.

Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan

In order to gain the support of conservadems and assure last night’s 219-212 passage of health care reform, President Obama agreed to sign an executive order that maintains the existing law of the land: the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funds from being spent on abortion services. So if you recieve federal subsidies from the reform bill to buy health insurance and want to purchase elective abortion coverage, you must do it seperately and pay for it out of pocket. The final reform bill similarly affirms the Hyde Amendment.

So, why does this matter? Because the Hyde Amendment is not set in stone. It must be renewed every year. This is key, because earlier anti-abortion provisions added to the bill and early drafts of the executive order would have strengthened the Hyde Amendment restrictions by eliminating the need for renewal. As things stand now, the bill and the order affirm current restrictions without shielding them from change down the road. Read more

So the status quo has been maintained, and both sides of the wedge are pissed. Pro-choicers, including the National Organization for Women, see this as a betrayal from the President, who is on public record opposing the Hyde Amendment. And Pro-lifers? They didn’t get the stronger restrictions they wanted, so Stupak’s a “Baby Killer“… go figure.

Actually, don’t figure. It will make your head hurt. Go finger instead.

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