Stupak is not unreasonable

I may diverge with my co-bloggers here. But I have to say, I am utterly failing to get exercised about about the presence of the Stupak amendment.

To be pro-life is not to have a stupid view. There are very compelling moral arguments against abortion, and, contra many pro-choice people, one need not be an uneducated religious yahoo to be pro-life. Indeed, it is usually a pro-choice argument that has more slippery work to do (that's not to say the pro-choice side isn't right, it's just a bit harder to see on what grounds it is right). Pro-choice people make very silly claims such as "one cannot be a feminist and be pro-life." Seems pretty to easy to me. I hope we are all agreed that someone may not kill a newborn child simply because it is annoying her and she has decided she would rather not deal with it - and that that position is consitent with feminism. So in that instance, a baby's right to life trumps the mother's right to happiness. And suppose I think that a fetus has the same moral claims as a newborn (again, not a stupid view). Suppose I also believe that women should have equal rights and be treated with respect. Seems a pretty plausible pro-life feminist.

Abortion is legal. Fine. No one should hinder someone who is seeking an abortion. But it does seem reasonable to ensure that people who believe abortion is murder should not be asked to pay for abortions. William Saletan was right: if you want government to cover health care, you invite interference in what used to be private decisions. Which is what conservatives had been saying all along, but progressives dismissed. As long as birth control is covered (and such coverage should be required), I am relatively unmoved by those who insist we should pay for abortions.

If progressives want to cover the abortions of poor women, create a private charity. Abortions are not hugely expensive, and it should be easy enough to do. But don't ask people to pay for something that they believe to be actual murder.

UPDATE: Stupak has exceptions for rape, incest, or saving the woman's life. (I'm never sure why incest gets included, unless it is coerced, but then it's rape - but that's an issue for another day). I would like it to be covered in the case of the health of the woman, as well.


  1. DoubleX sez the problem is contraception isn't on the list of no-copay services ("there was certainly no medical justification for excluding contraception from a list of services to be covered without co-payment").

    I don't get it. Why must birth control be available to everyone (not just the poor) with no direct payment? Insurance isn't meant to cover routine services in other contexts; I don't get to claim oil changes on my auto insurance, and I don't get to claim lawn service on my home insurance. If someone, man or woman, wants to use contraception, why can't that someone and their partner pay for it? It isn't immediately obvious to me that having to buy your own condoms and pills is an crippling expense that must be covered by everyone pitching in to the common good. Could you explain what I'm missing? Thanks.

  2. Maybe it doesn't need to be co-pay-free, but I think it perfectly clear that all of us who don't like abortion would do well to insure that contraception is as easy and cheap as possible. People may not have a right to it, but it seems a very good idea to make sure people have as easy access to it as possible.

  3. How can we make contraception easier and cheaper than it now is? We'd need to spike all drinkable water with hormones.

  4. For the record, I am not particularly exercised by the Stupak amendment.

  5. We don't need to make it easier and cheaper than it now is, or maybe make sure we're in the range of $5 co-pays, not $30. But we need to make sure it remains cheap and easy.