Religious zealots succeed in making low-income women the sacrificial lamb for health care reform:
Abortion opponents won a huge last-minute concession late Friday night after Democratic leaders agreed to grant them a vote on an amendment that would effectively bar insurers that participate in the exchanges from offering coverage for abortions.
Leaders reluctantly made the decision after working for days to broker a truce that would garner a blessing from the Conference of Catholic Bishops. But the church, according to members and aides, wouldn’t accept a compromise crafted by Indiana Rep. Brad Ellsworth that would have established a body to make sure private insurance companies don’t use federal funds to pay for abortions.
The move came as something of a surprise, but aides predicted it would be enough to break a deadlock that has paralyzed leaders for days as they scrambled to build the 218 votes they need for the health care bill, as well as a procedural measure to green light its consideration.
The Rules Committee is expected to give Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak a floor vote on his amendment to prohibit private insurers from using federal funds to pay for abortion or allowing companies that participate in the exchange from offering coverage through those plans. Given the strength of the anti-abortion vote in the House, the amendment should pass when it comes to the floor and will therefore become part of the broader bill.
Ezra Klein calls it “a very bad deal to pass a very good bill.”
The final compromises before a bill comes to the floor are never very pretty. This one, however, is worse than I anticipated. …
The amendment will prohibit federal funds for abortion services in the public option. It also prohibits individuals who receive affordability credits from purchasing a plan that provides elective abortions. However, it allows individuals, both who receive affordability credits and who do not, to separately purchase with their own funds plans that cover elective abortions. It also clarifies that private plans may still offer elective abortions.
… The idea that people are going to go out and purchase separate “abortion plans” is both cruel and laughable. If this amendment passes, it will mean that virtually all women with insurance through the exchange who find themselves in the unwanted and unexpected position of needing to terminate a pregnancy will not have coverage for the procedure. Abortion coverage will not be outlawed in this country. It will simply be tiered, reserved for those rich enough to afford insurance themselves or lucky enough to receive from their employers.
I don’t think there are words adequate enough to describe how outrageous it is that a religious organization, representing a specific doctrinal set of religious beliefs, can walk into Congress and hold a piece of legislation hostage to their wishes. It’s just beyond me. Booman remarks:
I didn’t realize that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was a political party with elected officials in Congress. Now I know.
What I would like to know is if they have a tax exemption. If they do, they shouldn’t. It should be yanked asap.
I don’t even understand how this can be constitutional. Abortion is legal. This amendment will make it impossible for poor women to have an abortion. How can that not be a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment?