November 9, 2009

Dr. Nancy Snyderman sums up how a lot of us feel about this absolutely horrid Stupak amendment. No, it's not fair and it is outrageous. It's bad enough we've got one party that wants to keep women living in the 1950's. We don't need two. And we don't need the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops writing legislation for Democrats.

Snyderman: Kelly I must admit this one caught me by surprise because I thought the public option was going to be the real rallying cry for Saturday. Because the Hyde amendment was in place over the summer we kept saying no federal money spent on abortions, and then the Stupak came in, really tightening the chance for a woman’s right to choose. Clarify for me.

O’Donnell: Yes, this issue has been bubbling under the surface for quite a while now and those who have strong views about abortion rights have been paying attention but you’re right, more generally we’ve been focused on the public option. What this would do is restrict the ability to have insurance coverage pay for abortion services. Now looking at the House plan it would create a public option and a market place that they call the exchange which would basically be a menu of insurance plans that people could choose from and if any of those plans take federal money or if as an individual you receive federal subsidies you would not be able to get abortion coverage. One alternative is to be able to purchase what they call a rider, an extra sort of mini-insurance plan specifically targeted for covering abortion services. But women, especially on the progressive side really stood up against that and said that would really require women to anticipate someday having the need for an abortion and they really strongly oppose that. But this amendment passed.

Why? Well certainly it had Republican support because you have a stronger abortion opposition on the Republicans side, but among Democrats there is a group that really feels strongly about abortion rights as well and they wanted to make very clear that no federal money could in any way be traced to abortion services and they had a lot of pressure from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops who wanted to see health care pass but wanted to be certain that no federal money would be in any way connected with to the potential for abortion services. So this really became a hot-button issue over the weekend and as you mentioned the Hyde amendment which goes back thirty years, which prohibits federal money being used for abortion with the exception of rape, incest or life of the mother, this now brings it into the issue of insurance coverage and even private plans if people get help from the government to pay for that insurance, they would be subject to this new rule.

Snyderman: Kelly, you know what I find so infuriating about this? I mean, absolutely infuriating? And this isn't about being pro-choice or pro-abortion or any of the hot button lingo. We know women pay more for insurance than men. We know women are restricted in the states. And now it's basically, if you're a 50 year old woman and you're in a monogamous relationship you suddenly find yourself pregnant, you better know that have an abortion rider in order to access health care that you thought you had? It is one more pressure on women. I mean, I'm surprised that frankly there isn't more outrage over the fact that ...this isn't fair!

O'Donnell: What you're voicing is what woman after woman on the Democrat side, the progressive side of the party, said on the House floor. They came out one after another, speaking in very strong terms against this amendment. The amendment did pass despite their objections. And they really said it puts, as you describe it so pressure on women to anticipate a need for something that is a very difficult personal experience—there are a lot moral implications. It's not an easy situation for any woman and to now ask them to plan ahead for the potential and to buy an extra policy, those who oppose this amendment say that is simply too much. Nancy.

Snyderman: A white man deciding a woman's…… a woman's responsibility in her own procreation. I mean I ... I find it infuriating. I mean, I really think it doesn't matter what side of the abortion issue or pro-choice issue you're on, the fact that they are now making health care harder and harder for women to navigate the system. I think it's outrageous—just outrageous. Kelly O'Donnell, thank you so much.

And folks it's not about abortion. It really is about one more burden for women navigating the health care system. Before I blow my top, time to turn to Monica Novotny at the news desk. Monica, get me out of here.

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