In the midst of the celebrations that a historic key first step has been taken to fix the horrific profits-over-people U.S. health care system, men’s voices need to ring out in protest against any efforts to limit a woman’s right to make independent decisions about her reproductive health. Simply put, I urge men to join a chorus singing “No!” to the back room deal-making cut by Michigan Congress member Bart Stupak exchanging a “Yes” vote on the health insurance overhaul for a pledge from President Obama to issue an executive order prohibiting paying for abortions as part of the new law. As Michael Moore, the filmmaker who made Sicko and who lives in Stupak’s district, has pointed out: Stupak wants to ensure “no woman who buys her own insurance with her own money is able to have a medically-insured abortion (emphasis added).”
The stipulation doesn’t address federally-funded abortions—those were outlawed long ago through the (Henry) Hyde Amendment. Stupak objected because the bill didn’t prohibit private insurance programs—set up for those whose employers don’t provide it—from providing abortion coverage if they get any federal funding, even to an individual woman paying without any government help.
While it was no small feat to have moved the U.S. deplorable health care system forward, to have done so at the expense of women ‘s rights seriously dims any celebration passing the new law invites.