When confronted with abortion oppponents who demand that any health care reform bill should explicitly exclude abortion coverage-which would mean that somewhere between half and 87 percent of insurance companies who cover it would have to stop doing so-I have one simple question to ask them: If the Democrats conceded to your demands and stripped 87 percent of women who are currently covered of their abortion coverage, would you support health care reform? So far, I have received nothing but crickets in return, which is unsurprising. Outside of a few otherwise progressive Catholic organizations, most abortion opponents are dialed into the larger right-wing agenda, which is far from “pro-life,” especially when it comes to making sure actual people don’t die of preventable causes due to lack of insurance.
It’s something to keep in mind when looking at all the strife over abortion coverage during the health care reform debates. Abortion was introduced into the debate mainly as a distraction from the issues at hand, because health care opponents would rather debate the topic “Careless Sluts vs. Good Women” than “Hard-Working Americans vs. Sociopathic Insurance Companies.” And if you were them, wouldn’t you? And shame on the more conservative Democrats who are letting this distraction technique influence their votes on whether or not to reform the health care system.
As Emily noted yesterday , the one drawback to this approach might be that it pushes Olympia Snowe to side with Democrats more than she’d usually prefer. Indeed, the longer the abortion debate portion of this madness goes on, the harder it is to ignore the fact that abortion opponents have peculiar opinions about women’s psychology, and Sen. Snowe is not amused. Orrin Hatch had the nerve to introduce a bill forcing women to purchase a separate insurance coverage for abortion. From this, we can gather that Sen. Hatch believes that women generally plan on having abortions, and also that women are by and large so stupid as to not realize that it will cost you more to pay $20 a month for the 40 years you’re fertile than come up with the $500 to cover an abortion should you ever need one.
Luckily, the amendment was voted down with Sen. Snowe’s help and her annoyed statements reminding her male colleagues that abortion is not something women generally plan on having in the future. Between this and the obnoxious attempts by health care opponents to deny that maternity care benefits should be included in general health care coverage, apparently on the grounds that men don’t give birth, the argument for having more women in politics makes itself.