A Shocking Blow to Women's Health: HR 3962

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

My source on HR 3962, Timothy
Jost of Health Affairs Blog
, says this about Saturday night’s big
change in the House health care reform bill, the Stupak amendment:

The Stupak amendment ... prohibits the use of any funds authorized or
appropriated under the Act “to cover any part of the costs of any health
plan that includes coverage for abortion,” except in cases of rape, incest, or physical life endangerment, even if the abortion coverage is paid for
with a separate premium. Private plans can only offer abortion coverage
to persons receiving federal affordability subsidies if the coverage is
offered as separate supplemental coverage, paid for with premiums that
are not subsidized under the Act and that fully cover the administrative
costs of the abortion coverage. The public plan may not offer abortion
coverage at all. Private plans that participate in the exchange and
include abortion coverage (i.e. plans that are sold without
affordability credits) must also offer plans through the exchange that
are identical in every respect except for not covering abortion.
Exchanges are not required to offer plans that cover abortion.

The amendment covers all funds authorized and appropriated under the
Act. It is not, therefore, limited to the affordability credits, but
also to credits paid to small employers to encourage them to insure
their employees and presumably to other programs like school-based
health clinics, nurse managed health centers, or health services for
Native Americans that are also funded under the Act. (The Act already
contained separate abortion coverage prohibitions for school-based and
Native American Health Services.

In other words, any plan, public or private, that wants any Federal
money, cannot offer abortion services.

As a foster parent who has taken the impoverished,
unwanted and neglected children of drug abusers into my home, I can
honestly say that in some cases, abortion would have been preferable to
the abuse they suffered as babies and children, often homeless, beaten,
and unfed. It’s not easy to raise a child: it takes love, training, and a
fair amount of money. Children having children helps no one. And the
dream of adopting all these kids is far-fetched: most foster children
NEVER get adopted.

I’m not talking here about abstract issues of women’s rights, although of course I (a
woman) believe in them. I’m talking about grim reality. I took my foster
daughter to get an abortion at Planned Parenthood when she got pregnant
at 16 by a ne’er-do-well, and now she is a happy mother of 25. She
thanks me every day. And by the way, I paid for that out of my own

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