“Progressives” all over the Internet are absolutely dismayed over the Stupak amendment, but they way in which they are expressing it is rather curious. Rather than standing up and proudly defending a woman’s right to murder her unborn child – or even to, in the more clinical and dehumanizing language, “terminate her pregnancy” – they are chiefly complaining about the class discrimination they believe is inherent in the amendment. Allegedly the Stupak amendment will only make it harder for poor and middle class women to get abortions, while rich women will continue to have access to them.
This distraction is as old as it is absurd. No one objects to abortions for the poor while supporting abortions for the rich. It’s easier for a rich person to buy drugs, to hire hit-men to take out an annoying spouse, or to commit any number of crimes against individuals and society. This has never been an argument for legalizing objectionable or violent behavior.
While the moral point the progressives wish to make is bankrupt, their concerns are based on recent and objective analysis of the larger implications of the Stupak amendment. If Stupak remains in the health care bill, it will actually have the effect of significantly reducing the abortion rate.
I can’t believe that I didn’t see it before – or that no one else did (that I know of, until now). So caught up have some of us been either with simply winning the battle to stop government funding of abortion, or to stop government health care altogether, that we failed to see the far-ranging implications of the Stupak amendment. This is more of a moment-of-truth for pro-lifers than previously imagined. This is from The Wonk Room’s analysis of Stupak:
Pro-life proponents may claim that Stupak simply preserves current policy but if they bother to examine the implications of their amendment they would discover that it actually accomplishes their goal of significantly restricting access to abortion.
The finer points demonstrate how, in one way or another, anyone whose health insurance depends in any way on the government, will not have abortion coverage at all. As another worried progressive blog puts it,
The Stupak amendment would not just stop the insurance plans for the roughly 30 million people on the exchange from covering abortion. (That assumes the exchange is not expanded like some hope it will be.) There are many parts of the bill that provide some direct money to many employer-provided insurance plans. There is the retiree reinsurance plan, the small business tax credits, and the wellness program. A literal interpretation of the Stupak amendment could force employer-provided insurance plans to stop covering abortion for tens of millions of Americans. The long reach of the Stupak amendment could have huge ramifications on the current aviability of insurance coverage for abortion services.
The passage of the health care bill with the Stupak amendment in-tact could have a domino effect, in other words, and effectively cut off abortion services for the majority of Americans. It goes far beyond, I believe, what its creators and supporters have yet realized. Abortion rates would plummet by necessity. Millions of lives could be saved. Thus, in an ironic twist, a massive expansion of government control over health care with pro-life provisions attached means a massive expansion of government control over access to abortion, for the better.
There are some aspects of the current health care legislation that I really dislike – especially the notion of fining or imprisoning people who do not wish to participate. I am not convinced that the basic Democratic Party model is better than the basic models used in other countries that the US might look to, such as the Netherlands. And my first preference is for the federal government to help local governments work more efficiently rather than making them redundant. But the prospect of putting a stop to what could amount to tens of millions of abortions is something I can’t turn away from, and neither can you.
So what do we do? It seems to me that the USCCB position was right after all – support universal health care, as long as abortion is not covered. If that is what we get in the end, then we will have gotten much more than we originally bargained for. It won’t destroy the Culture of Death, and it won’t overturn Roe v. Wade, but it may remove abortion as an option for millions of women.
While progressives see the greatest evil in all this the notion that rich women may continue to have abortions while poor women can’t – boo hoo, boo hoo – we can see the greatest good in the promise that millions of children will not die simply because they are poor. I suspect, anyway, that poor men will be more angry about this than poor women. They’re usually the ones pressuring their mates for abortion in the first place, and now when they discover that abortion is too expensive, they’ll have no choice but to take responsibility for their sexual behavior.
I know that some of you will see in this a Faustian pact, but on the other hand, I can’t think of any other way the result we want will ever actually be achieved. Roe isn’t going anywhere. Our culture isn’t going to revert to 1950’s norms of decency. This may be it. We can’t change the law or the hearts of men and women, but it seems that we can close the store.
I really want to see some good comments on this one! Let’s assume the worried progressives have a point – will you support the current health care legislation if it means cutting off abortion services to the majority of Americans? And if you think the analysis linked to above is misguided or wrong, I’d also like to hear arguments on that.