[This post was originally written for Politics Without God.]
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.
Most of those abortion right supporters have only themselves to blame. They pushed hard for ObamaCare, using all kinds of tricks to overcome widespread public opposition. They could not have been honestly ignorant of the threat to abortion rights in ObamaCare, not given the contentious debates about it. Nor could they have been unaware that granting government unprecedented control over medicine would grant that same government unprecedented control over access to abortion too. And — surprise, surprise — governments are not always composed of staunch supporters of abortion rights.
Sadly, we told you so. Ari Armstrong wrote about this very problem in this blog post. My husband, writing for Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine (FIRM) warned about abortion becoming a political football in this op-ed. As he says:
Government-controlled health insurance will mean politically-controlled medicine — not only with respect to abortion but for health services in general. ObamaCare will turn medicine into a game of permanent political football, where the politically favored perpetually pound ordinary Americans without special “pull.” Until we replace ObamaCare with free-market reforms, Americans had better get used to being the permanent tackling dummies for special-interest groups.
The chickens are coming home to roost. Abortion rights can only be respected when the government recognizes and protects all rights, particularly the rights of property and contract found only in free markets.
Remember: Christian fundamentalists will be more than happy to build their theocratic dictatorship on the socialist/fascist foundations laid by the progressives.