The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Pro-life groups use health care reform to restrict abortions

Health care reform hasn’t deterred at least one pro-life group from using a loophole in the new law to limit funds used for abortions:

Abortion opponents fought passage of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul to the bitter end, and now that it’s the law, they’re using it to limit coverage by private insurers.

An obscure part of the law allows states to restrict abortion coverage by private plans operating in new insurance markets. Capitalizing on that language, abortion foes have succeeded in passing bans that, in some cases, go beyond federal statutes.

“We don’t consider elective abortion to be health care, so we don’t think it’s a bad thing for fewer private insurance companies to cover it,” said Mary Harned, attorney for Americans United for Life, a national organization that wrote a model law for the states.

Abortion rights supporters are dismayed.

“Implementation of this reform should be about increasing access to health care and increasing choices, not taking them away,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., a member of the Senate leadership.

Since Obama signed the legislation law March 23, Arizona and Tennessee have enacted laws restricting abortion coverage by health plans in new insurance markets, called exchanges. About 30 million people will get their coverage through exchanges, which open in 2014 to serve individuals and small businesses.

In Florida, Mississippi and Missouri, lawmakers have passed bans and sent them to their governors. Most of the states allow exceptions in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. Insurers still could offer separate policies to specifically cover abortion.

Meantime, you hear more in this interview from “Currents” with the head of Americans United for Life.

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Fellow American

posted May 16, 2010 at 10:42 am


posted May 16, 2010 at 2:04 pm

This is a wonderful opening in the health care discussion for the pro-life cause to make the simple point: ABORTION IS NOT HEALTH CARE. If it were, OB-GYN doctors would be recommending it for their patients routinely. In fact, only in the rarest instances is abortion ever performed for any medical purpose. In 99.9%+ of cases it would be better for the mother’s health to go full term in her pregnancy and deliver the baby. Few would argue, of course, that abortion is good for the baby’s health. Yet the presence of real human baby, a true undeniable person is manifestly obvious to anyone who cares to examine a modern ultrasound. Abortion as “health care” is an insidious lie foisted on the public in order to secure tax dollars to support what was originally pushed as a personal, private elective choice. If abortion is a personal, private choice, why not take personal and private responsibility for it? The bogus “health care” argument is tantamount to rationing — and on grounds that are not medical at all — but rather in the service of a lifestyle choice and the industry that thrives on it.

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Dr H

posted May 16, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Abortion is healthcare. If the mother’s life is in danger because of the pregnancy, it is an always will be a viable choice for the mother to make.
And until I see supposed “pro-lifers” drop their hypocritical position on “life”, it’s just another exucse for wishy-washy, bankrupt morals. Examples?
The mother is forced to take the baby to term because of you and your beliefs. The baby requires $1 Million in care over the next 10 years because of defects. Will you pay your entire life savings to ensure this stranger’s baby lives? Didn’t think so. Your morality therefore has a set price, and it’s bankrupt.
Example 2: The mother is forced to abort the child to live (yes, it does happen, no matter what your phony statistics say). What do you say about the mother’s supposed “right-to-life”? Again, that decision is simply derived from your moral bankruptcy – you think you can play God but nobody else can.
To sum it up, there is no such thing as a “right to life” in this country. The choice is between the lady and whatever mythical God she chooses to worship. It will never be yours.

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posted May 16, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Must have the “moralists” interfering with a woman’s decision (and absolutely no one elses) to carry or not carry a pregnancy to term. The solution? If you don’t believe in abortion, don’t have one, but don’t tell ME I can’t have one if I feel it is necessary. In an ideal world, every pregnancy would be carried to term, every child would be wanted, healthy,loved,cared for and protected…..but this isn’t an ideal world. Most certainly I would hope there would never be a reason for a termination, but there are reasons…and those are no one else’s business. Guess there is a preference for coat hangers and butchers in the eyes of those who feel a woman should have no choice. I remember those days…NOT GOOD.
Dr H: Well written post!

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posted May 16, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Pagansister, you said, “In an ideal world, every pregnancy would be carried to term…” I’m curious about that statement. If abortion does not involve a baby, why would “every pregnancy” result in a live birth in the ideal world you speak of? Isn’t the pro-choice argument premised, to a great degree, on the notion that what is growing inside the mother is not a human life? My hunch (and I could be wrong) is that you DO in fact acknowledge that there’s a human life growing in the womb. The child’s DNA is different than the mother’s (or the father’s); the child has a nervous system and a heartbeat of her or his own.
And as for the coat hangers and butchers you mention: No, most people who oppose abortion do not think it should be conducted with coat hangers, either, or by unlicensed doctors as opposed to licensed doctors. In either case, a child’s life is ended and a woman in a crisis pregnancy has been exploited so that someone could turn a profit or avoid becoming a father to her child. Our society needs to put dollars where our values are, if we are to call ourselves pro-life, and support women in crisis pregnancies; support mothers and children who live in poverty; encourage adoption programs for mothers who know they are not able at this point to raise a child; provide universal access to quality health care for all children and all adults. We still won’t have the “ideal world” you speak of, but at least we will be helping to protect human life (the child’s life and the mother’s). When that day comes, I hope you and other pro-choicers will not be saying, “Well, it’s time to distribute the coat hangers, because abortion is inevitable. No choice but to promote abortion.” My hunch is that you value justice and human rights. I would invite you to continue working for justice, including justice for the unborn as well as the born.

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Dr H

posted May 16, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Steve: Thank you for the post. I have an issue with your statement: “In either case, a child’s life is ended and a woman in a crisis pregnancy has been exploited so that someone could turn a profit”.
Abortions to save a mother’s life are not made to turn a profit. That’s just silly. They are to protect the woman’s right to choose her destiny, regardless of whatever collection of non-viable human cells are growing within her. A non-viable fetus or zygote is NOT a child. It is NOT a citizen, nor does it have the mythical but oft-quoted “right-to-life”. Again, there is no such thing as a “right-to-life” in our country. Go ahead, please peruse any offical document you care to read, you won’t find it.
Notice I said “non-viable”, because this issue has already been settled by the Supreme Court of our country in Roe v. Wade. A woman can choose to abort the non-viable human fetus up to but not including medical viability. You cannot overturn a Supreme Court decision. It’s as final as it gets. States can limit or determine their definitions of viability.
But as pagansister said, please do not assume you will ever, ever have any say over what women should do with cells they create in their own body. If you’re against abortion, mind your own business and don’t have one. Until then, open your wallets and personally pay for all the unwanted children with your own money.
And thank you for saying “Pro-Choice” instead of the ridiculous “pro-abortion” tag that people sometimes use.

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posted May 16, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Dr. H, likewise, thank you for not referring to people who oppose legalized abortion — and the abortion industry — as “anti-choice.” As you may realize, many (if not most) abortion clinics do not do much to encourage women to consider any other choices; in fact, groups like NARAL adamantly oppose laws that would require a discussion of choices (other than abortion) before a woman has an abortion.
You’ve written something that frankly does not add up for me: “Abortions to save a mother’s life are not made to turn a profit. That’s just silly. They are to protect the woman’s right to choose her destiny…” You seem to conflate an abortion to “save a mother’s life” (perhaps an ectopic pregnany, I’m guessing) with abortions to that women can “choose their destiny.” I had the impression that you started out to make a medical argument, and then decided to make an argument about convenience, autonomy, etc. I hope you will at least, in the interest of honesty, acknowledge that those two statements don’t seem to belong together.
Yes, I of course have read a great deal about Roe v. Wade and subsequent SCOTUS decisions, as have you, I imagine. Most Americans have. And yes, the likelihood of Roe being overturned any time soon is (notwithstanding the rabid rhetoric of NARAL, etc.) is very, very slim. (Even then, of course, abortion would not become automatically illegal across the country. Abortion would instead become a battle fought on a state-by-state basis.) However, I’m sure you would agree, at the very least, that some SCOTUS decisions have been founded on weak logic and have had devastating consequences for those whose rights were not respected. (Dred Scott, for instance; also Plessy v. Ferguson; also the two or three instances in 1943-44 when SCOTUS upheld sanctions against Japanese-Americans that were based solely on the ancestry of the victims.) My point is that simply telling us that SCOTUS has decided the case is not much of an argument. We’re debating in these comments not just the legal implications of abortion but also how our culture of death contributes to abortion and other ways in which life is devalued and/or ended prematurely, sometimes brutally.
Lastly: Please give me a break with the “If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one” line, bumper-sticker logic that is just as simplistic as something like, “If you don’t approve of people owning slaves, don’t buy a slave!” (Some folks on the pro-choice side respond to that analogy by arguing that slaves were indeed humans — which of course they were — while the being in the womb who has unique, human DNA; a heartbeat; and a nervous system that is more and more complex day by day clearly does NOT qualify as a human being of any sort. Well, you can go down that road if you like, but merely saying it does not make it so. You have to do more than that to convince some of us that the being in the womb can be torn apart without an atrocity occurring. It would have been an atrocity for you to be torn apart in the womb, or me, and so it is for the human, unborn though she is, who in fact will be torn apart in a scheduled abortion somewhere tomorrow.
Your right to exist did not begin with the first breath you took, and neither should hers.)

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Jersey McJones

posted May 16, 2010 at 10:47 pm

I think there’s a fundamental misunderstanding about the pro-choice position. Here, “Steve” asked, “Isn’t the pro-choice argument premised, to a great degree, on the notion that what is growing inside the mother is not a human life?” No. That is not even remotely in any sense even a premise of the pro-choice argument. In fact, the whole “human life” argument is a non-sequitor to the pro-choice movement. An embryo is no more or less a human life than a seed is a tree. You can call a seed a tree if you like, but it’s just vacuous, pointless semantics. It is irrelevent. It’s not that an embryo is not a human life, or is a humen life, or is something else. It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is the human life of the woman. The ENTIRE pro-choice argument is grounded on the individual rights, liberty and freedom of women. Period. Nothing more and nothing less. Just as your rights end at my nose, an embryo’s rights end at a woman’s uterus. If she chooses to carry, she can carry. If she chooses not to, she can abort. That’s why the whole darned argument is called PRO-CHOICE.

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Health & Care Articles

posted May 17, 2010 at 2:11 am

I m very thankfull to u and i m agree with DR,H statementits a better for those who are reffering to people oppose legalized abortion and the abortion industry — as “anti-choice.” As you may realize, many (if not most) abortion clinics do not do much to encourage women to consider any other choices.

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posted May 17, 2010 at 7:24 am

I find it scary if Dr H is really a doctor. Perhaps you should read the story of Gianna Molla. I am sure you can find it on the net.

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posted May 18, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Yes, as I said “in an ideal world etc.”. However this isn’t an ideal world, and there are circumstances when carrying to term will not happen. Yes, the factors you mentioned are accurate…however there is no possibility for several weeks into that pregnancy, the enbryo/ fetus is unable to live outside the womb. IMO, unless the life of the mother is in danger, a woman should be able to make up her mind before or at the end of the 3-4th month whether she wants to continue or not. IMO that is plenty of time to make that decision. But again that isn’t my decision or anyone elses. Whether right or wrong in the eyes of others, it is her decision, and that right should continue to be allowed by law, or those nasty other choices come into play. I just became a grandmother for the first time. However, if the life of my daughter-in-law was in danger, that pregnancy would have been terminated. My son and daughter-in-law can make another child, but he couldn’t “make another wife”.

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posted May 28, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Dear JMJ:
A seed, indeed, is not a tree, no more than sperm is a human life. A human life takes place when the seed(sperm) unites with the ovum, the conceptus, a conceived human being, everything is there in this unique DNA: color of eyes, height of person, the mother’s ears and teeth pattern, the voice tone of the father etc., the moment of conception begins a natural process of human life that should only end with a natural death. Life from the moment of conception is sacred. A woman’s choice to terminate a life is a perversion of natural law. The Church did not invent natural law, She stands by it. God is the sole author of life, God creates and God alone decides the moment of death.

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posted May 28, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Dear JMJ:
Yes, a seed is no more a tree than the sperm is a human life. God creates a human life the moment the sperm unites with the ovum. From that moment a human life begins to unfold and exist. The conceptus is a human life, not plant life, not dog life, but a human life, like you and me, human beings.

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posted May 29, 2010 at 12:31 am

Just a pedantic note, but in plant reproduction a “seed” is the equivalent to an embryo in animal reproduction — it is the union of male and female gametes to produce a new living thing.
The association of semen and seed came from an era when humans were ignorant of how animal reproduction worked, and believed that semen contained embryos which were planted in a woman who contributed no genetic material to the resultant offspring. (A result of rather striking levels of dull and unobservant notions: if a mother is not physically related to her offspring, then why all of those cases where a grandson looks just like his maternal grandfather and not much like his father or paternal grandfather?)
In comparing plant and animal reproduction, seed is the plant analog of embryo, while semen is the animal analog of pollen.

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