How the Current Health Care Bill Blocks Women from Health Coverage

December 8th, 2009

By Dean I. Weitzman, Esq.


The version of the health care bill that passed the House in early November includes stipulations that may seriously infringe on a woman’s right to choose.

It does this by refusing to put federal money towards any health care program that provides abortion coverage.

Even if a woman pays 100 percent of the healthcare premium with her own money, she would not be able to obtain an abortion under the current health plan. Instead, she would be forced to maintain another, completely independent healthcare plan on the chance that she may become pregnant in the future.

Many have pointed out that this is akin to forcing individuals to maintain a separate plan on the off chance they develop cancer. Unplanned pregnancies are, by their nature, unplanned for, so it seems a bit off that the government would force women into pricey, speculative insurance coverage. Why not disallow individuals covered by the public option to go out into the sun without protective sunscreen?

The stipulation was included in the Stupak-Pitts amendment, which seeks to prohibit the public health care option from providing abortion coverage to any enrollees. While not an open stand against a woman’s right to choose, it seems to be, more or less, an indictment against planned parenthood.

It’s certainly more limiting than the Hyde amendment, which provides that no federal money can be used to fund abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or life-endangerment.

If the Stupak-Pitts amendment makes it through Congress and is included in the final bill, it could prevent many women from seeking abortions through traditional avenues – essentially forcing abortions back into the alley.

Needless to say, the amendment has garnered a strong reaction. Groups such as NARAL Pro-Choice America, the American Civil Liberties Union and women’s rights activists across the country have openly opposed the measure. Many in Congress have also voiced opposition and proposed alternatives to the amendment.

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