How healthcare relates to a woman’s right to choose

When I learned the Affordable
Health Care for
Americans Act passed in the
House of Representatives,
propelling health care reform
into the realm of reality, my
reaction was bittersweet.
On one hand, we’re one
step closer to making health
care coverage a necessity
with access for all instead of
a privilege for some; on the
other, we’ve taken two steps
back with regard to women’s
health issues – specifically,
exercising the right to choose.
That’s because the bill
was likely to have been killed
in the house, had lawmakers
not included the Stupak
It states that no federal
funding will pay for abortion
procedures. Those who purchase
plans with a subsidy
from the federal government
will have no option to legally
obtain the procedure with
their coverage — only if they
pay for it out of pocket.
No exceptions. Unless,
of course, if a woman is the
victim of rape, incest, or the
pregnancy poses a danger to
her health.
The federal government
does not provide funding for
such procedures anyway;
those who need to have an
abortion usually have to pay
for it themselves or can go
to privately funded women’s
clinics and organizations
like Planned Parenthood.
This creates a system
wherein those who do have
the means to procure coverage
are granted access, while
those who do not are denied.
This defeats the whole purpose
of reforming health care.
When I expressed my disappointment
in this matter, my
friend told me he didn’t think
it was taking away women’s
rights. That I was being unfair
and, in a way, couldn’t see the
forest for the trees.
By focusing on one little
amendment (that makes it
nearly impossible for one to
exercise a right protected by
law), I was neglecting to see
the big picture: affordable
health care for all.
Finally, with health care
reform, those who would normally
elect to have abortions
would be given greater access
to alternatives that would
deter them from having to get
one in the first place.
Even if health care reform
does lead to a diminished
need for abortion procedures,
a postulation for which we
have no precedent by the way,
the fact remains that there
should be no legal loopholes
put in place to prevent one
from exercising that right.
The whole Stupak fiasco
has caused me to ponder
so much. Should my working-
class self-cheer hurrah,
while the woman in me sighs
resignedly, conceding another
defeat, another instance of
compromise enacted in the
name of the greater good of
my fellow Americans?
If abortion is perfectly
legal (as elective procedures,
not just in the case of rape,
incest, a threat to one’s health),
why do lawmakers go the extra
mile to make it damn near
impossible to acquire one?
If it’s a matter of morality,
or an attempt by lawmakers
to acquiesce to the demands
of their rabidly anti-choice
constituency, why do they
not tackle the immorality of
war, of capital punishment, of
poverty with the same zeal?
Forgive me if I’m about
to make a sweeping generalization,
but why is it that the
most vocal anti-abortion critics
don’t seem to care about
these babies once they’re
If we do eventually take
away the right to choose, will
the same people who fought to
make sure all those who were
conceived were born willingly
spend more of their tax dollars
protecting the unwanted children
from a life of destitution
and poverty? Not likely.
Why is a woman’s private
choice even up for debate?
It’s legal. If you don’t want
an abortion, don’t get one,
but don’t go out of the way
to prevent another American
from exercising autonomy
and freedom over her own
body. This is precisely what
the Stupak amendment calls
for and that’s unconstitutional.
Hopefully, when the bill
reaches the Senate, the right
decision will be made: Stupak
will be nixed and we can
move on to more important
things like making sure every
single American has good
health care.Andrea Gay is a senior at University of Louisiana at
Monroe from Monroe.