I consider myself a bit of a feminist. I am proud to be a woman and even more proud of how far women have come in society. I am also pro-choice, and I believe that I should be the only one making decisions concerning my body. These facts being stated, it may seem odd that I support U.S. Rep. Stupak’s amendment to the house health care bill, which would restrict women from receiving
federal health care funding for abortions.
As a tax paying citizen, I do not feel the money I pay to the government should go toward abortion coverage. If a woman opts not to have her child for personal reasons, federal funds should not be used to pay for that abortion.
The amendment recently passed in the House by a margin of 240-194, and is now waiting in the senate. Since proposing this amendment to the health care bill (H.R. 3962), many pro-choice senators and pro-choice groups have publicly attacked Stupak’s decision to support the amendment. But amidst all the banter about his pro-life stance and religion, people fail to see what this amendment really means. Using federal funds to cover abortion is currently illegal, and the amendment is only clarifying the language of that law.
A September 2009 Rasmussen poll showed that 48 percent of Americans thought health insurance paid for by or subsidized with government funding should not be required to cover abortions, while only 13 percent said it should. It is obvious that the majority of public sentiment is mirroring this amendment. People want their tax money to go toward decisions that will benefit our nation as a whole, and as our representative, it’s Stupak’s job to back bills that protect that.
Those who are pro-choice have continually used the argument that it is a woman’s decision what she does to her body. But that body is also her responsibility, not the responsibility of the government. We as Americans cannot forget that these funds are the taxes we pay. Pro-choice advocates can stand at a podium and preach all they want, but if a woman held out her hand and asked for them to pay for her abortion, they may be singing a different tune.
Accusations that this amendment will strip women of their right to have an abortion are false. According to a Nov. 9 National Public Radio story which broke down the language of the health care bill, the amendment states that government-provided health insurance will not cover abortion except for instances of rape, incest or if the woman’s life is in danger. However, abortion coverage will still be available. Women can purchase additional coverage if they feel it is necessary, but they will have to pay for it out of their own pockets. Private insurance companies can still provide coverage as long as they receive no funding from the government.
According to the non-partisan Guttmacher Institute, which keeps sexual and reproductive health facts and statistics, only 13 percent of abortions are paid for by private insurance coverage. Most abortions are paid for in cash, even if the woman has the private coverage, simply for the sake of privacy. There are plenty of options left for women, so I don’t see where the taking away of rights comes from.
This amendment is not trying to strip women of their rights, but rather addressing the concern of how our tax dollars are used. As a liberal, pro-choice female, I see the amendment for what it is, an attempt to secure a law, and clarify the language of that law. It’s not as though the legality of abortion is being questioned; women will still be left with the option. But we shouldn’t leave the responsibility of paying for it to taxpayers – our bodies, our choice and our responsibility.