Conor Friedersdorf responds to my post on the Stupak Amendment. Mr. Friedersdorf writes,
a) The bigger role the federal government takes in funding health care, the more you’re going to see politicians interfering in matters that would otherwise be left to doctors and patients, and the more controversial these battles are going to become among the public. This seems obvious to me, but I never see progressive writers worrying about it.
There are bound to be downsides to increased government involvement in health care, yes. I'll grant that. But we already live in a world where government makes a lot of interventions into health care -- the FDA, state insurance commissions, medical licensing boards, etc. Nothing in this bill -- other than the Stupak-Pitts Amendment -- proposes to tell insurance companies which procedures they cannot cover. Progressives aren't the ones advocating for a government intervention between patients and their doctors. The only people who are arguing for that type of intervention are anti-choicers -- who have been trying to restrict women's health-care options for decades.
b) There are many women in the United States who oppose abortion, and if asked would agree that federal money shouldn’t fund it, so the assertion that the amendment throws 50 percent of the population under the bus isn’t accurate, unless one takes the position that these anti-abortion women are suffering from false consciousness.
Actually, no matter what their beliefs about abortion, every woman in this country is indeed screwed over by this amendment. Many, many women who are opposed abortion rights have exercised those rights themselves -- whether for health reasons or because, when it came right down to it, they simply found themselves making a different choice than they thought they would in that situation. They might not think they're under the bus, but they probably don't think they'll ever need an abortion, either. Doesn't mean either statement is true.
c) The unknowable thing for me is when human life begins, when it is morally required to protect it, etc. ... My uncertainty makes me loathe to impose a legally binding answer on other people, so you’ll never see me in a pro-life rally — but the same uncertainty makes me deeply uncomfortable with abortion, insofar as my personal take is that uncertainty in life or death circumstances calls for erring on the side of caution.
That’s why I’ve always taken great care to never be in a position where I inadvertently conceive a child, and why if I ever were in that position, I’d rather dramatically reorganize my life forever than see the abortion even of a child I wish I hadn’t helped conceive. So you can see why I’d feel uncomfortable with the notion of my tax dollars being used to fund abortions — just as I am presently uncomfortable that my tax dollars are used to fund the death penalty — and wish that they weren’t, even as I strongly support all sorts of reproductive health care for women, including abortions in cases when the life of the mother is at risk.
First of all, if you are having sex with women, please to enlighten us as to this fail-safe "no babies" position you are using! Secondly, the thing about the Stupak Amendment is that it goes beyond the Hyde Amendment, which bars public funding for abortion under Medicaid. Stupak would actually prevent employer-based plans -- ones that are not supported by your tax dollars -- from covering abortion.
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