Pre-existing issue confronts Dems
Alexander Burns of Politico wrote an interesting piece http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1109/29393.html about how a flare-up of the abortion issue has affected the current push for passage of health-care reform legislation. The crux of the story is that Democrats are finding themselves split over what restrictions, if any, should be imposed on abortion funding in whatever health-care bill emerges from Congress. The centerpiece of this clash is an amendment offered by Michigan Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak and approved by the House that would, essentially, prevent money from being spent on abortions through a proposed national health insurance exchange or a public-option plan. The real question is, should the government be in the business of paying for abortions? While I would never support a complete ban on abortions, I don't see why the government, or any insurance program connected to the government, should be paying for them. I wouldn't object to coverage of abortions in the case of rape, incest or threats to a woman's health, but I think it's highly distasteful for the government to have a role in providing abortions to people who use the procedure as birth control, often because they were too stupid, lazy or irresponsible to take precautions against pregnancy in the first place. At the same time, I could make the argument that people's tax money is used all the time for things they oppose or object to on moral grounds. For instance, I think the proposal to spend $300 million to build a maglev people-mover at Cal U. is ridiculous. And I've been sickened by the horrible waste of Americans' tax dollars to finance the war in Iraq. But no matter what abortion-funding restrictions are included in the health reform legislation, women will still be able to undergo the procedures. They just might have to dig into their own pockets to do so, and abortion-rights advocates can feel free to help those who are short on funds.