Hyde: 30 years is enough

In honor of the Roe v. Wade anniversary, I’m highlighting the Hyde- 30 Years is Enough campaign to lift the restrictions on Federal funding of abortion services to poor women who receive health insurance through Medicaid.  Here are some of the reasons I oppose the Hyde amendment restrictions:

  • I believe that the ability to control one’s reproduction should not be limited on the basis of income.  NNAF says it better than I can:

"We call for full public funding of abortion as a
part of comprehensive health care for all, and support for low-income
women to care for their children with dignity.  We stand for
reproductive justice, a world in which all women have the power and
resources necessary to make healthy decisions about their bodies and
their families.

  • One of the main effects of the Hyde restrictions is to push abortions from the first trimester into the second.  This increases the health risks to the woman, raises the cost of the procedure, and pushes closer to the viability line.

If you’re not poor, a federal employee, or a member of the armed services, these bans don’t affect you.  Now.  But if you hope to someday be covered by a public health insurance system, you should be paying attention.

6 Responses to “Hyde: 30 years is enough”

  1. Ethel Says:

    I have to disagree with you, and I think your response to those opposing your view is very weak. Abortions are a common process that many people in the US consider to be the taking of a human life. Just because we already fund immoral activities (I would agree w/ you on water boarding, and may I add the death penalty to the list?) does not mean we should add one more; that’s like saying that because we’ve already fought a fundamentally flawed war in Vietnam, we were obligated to fight a fundamentally flawed war in Iraq as well.
    With one out of five pregnancies currently ending in abortion, tax dollars would be used to fund many pregnancies (check the Alan Guttmacher Institute http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/2008/01/17/index.html with data from 2005 for the 1-in-5 statistic). Water-boarding, on the other hand, is relatively infrequent – certainly under a million incidents per year. Because it isn’t moral, IMO and yours as well, it is still our duty as moral agents to protest our tax funds being used for this purpose and to try to discourage it. Just because we failed to prevent our taxes being used for water-boarding doesn’t mean we should silence ourselves when it comes to another immoral use for taxes. I hope your argument here will not keep you silent on other immoral acts attempted or committed by our government using our taxes in the future; every voice helps.
    Maybe you don’t want to be part of a world where the ability to control reproduction is limited based on income. However, I and many others don’t want to be part of a world where our tax dollars are frequently used to fund the taking of innocent human lives (I’m not even fond of taking guilty human lives – maybe we could expand this “immoral use of taxes” argument to include the death penalty, and save a few bucks while we’re at it).
    With all due respect – I do love your blog, and am not surprised to find we disagree on this point.

  2. RSBasch Says:

    I don’t think the issue is whether or not you have right to protest what you regard as an an immoral act by witholding YOUR tax dollars but rather, do you have the right to withold MY tax dollars from a an activity that is legal and that I do not believe to be immoral. This is part of what is the most vexing problem in making a democracy work. Being outvoted does not change either your moral or intellectual position but at some point we are all on a losing side and thus subject, however unwillingly, to the preferences of a majority with whom we disagree..

  3. dave.s. Says:

    Ethel – one of the things I have most liked about Elizabeth’s blog is that she has always been respectful of others, even when views differ.
    I think – I am not with you on abortion. I favor abortion on demand. But I think abortion backers and opponents often talk past each other, when abortion-favoring people start in at the ‘choice’ argument. As a nation, we recoiled when New Yorkers in their apartments watched Kitty Genovese murdered slowly and did nothing, and passed laws requiring that people come to the aid of people who were in mortal danger. We require people to take care of their children. The ‘choice’ argument comes into play only after you have made your own moral determination that fetuses are NOT people, innocent lives, etcetera. That’s my belief, that’s where you and I start disagreeing – I think that becoming human, or ensoulment, or peopleness happens after birth. But if you don’t think that way (and clearly you don’t) then I think you are morally bound to oppose abortion just as you oppose child abuse, etc.
    Now, Tom Schelling actually wrote a serious piece suggesting that a mechanism for getting social peace on abortion would be to allow abortion-on-demand backers to fund clinics where women could get abortions, and then opponents would not have the anger of having their taxes used to do something they abhorred. I’m not sure I buy it, the analogy being that I wouldn’t accept having death centers where people could take their two year olds to be killed if they came to think them an inconvenience.

  4. Elizabeth Says:

    On further thought, I think the basic problem is that a majority of Americans want abortion available for themselves and their family, but are somewhat morally squeamish about it, and don’t trust “other people” to make as good decisions as they would. So a majority wants it to be legal, but a good chunk of that majority isn’t willing to fight to make sure that it’s available to poor women (or to soldiers, feds, and their families).
    And, as far as I can tell, the set of people who think that abortion shouldn’t be legal, but think that as long as it’s legal, it should be available to poor women (etc.) is approximately zero.

  5. dave.s. Says:

    Elizabeth – have you ever read the Schelling paper in which he advocates that abortion-on-demand believers pay for all the abortions? As I said, I’m not convinced – but it does answer Ethel’s concern that she is forced to pay for evil. He points out that the numbers are not all that high.
    In our own house, after having children, my wife has gotten a lot more squeamish about abortion – and she was a pretty uncompromising advocate – while I felt that I saw ensoulment, or humanness happen for my kids in their first six months, and became more clear that abortion-on-demand was the right way to go. So, yes, I think poor women should have as good access to abortion as richer ones.

  6. Mary Says:

    A pregnant friend of mine confirmed, at 20 weeks, that her baby had a severe heart defect, as well as Downs Syndrome. Their doctor said the heart defect was so severe, the baby would have had to have multiple open heart surgeries in the baby’s first years of life, but may not understand what was happening due to the Downs. My friend made the heartwrenching choice to end this much wanted pregnancy. Then the other shoe dropped…her husband is a government employee and their insurance did not cover ANY of their medical costs. Also, after delivering her child, and dealing with all of the emotional repercussions of that, she decided to leave the hospital early to reduce costs. Unfortunately, some of the placenta was retained and she almost died — ICU visit and all the rest. The second hospitalization wasn’t covered either…cause it was a “complication” of the first. The medical costs exceeded $25,000. Luckily, my friend and her husband are both college educated and employed, even tho they will have a hard time paying this off soon. I am horrified by her story — that a federal employee has to consider financial implications in making this type of awful decision……almost like they have no health insurance at all. Why aren’t my tax dollars going to help federal employees be treated like any other citizen who has health insurance???? (BTW, a decision to terminate a pregnancy due to these type of medical problems IS generally covered by private insurance).

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