The bill brought to the floor already included a careful compromise that should have satisfied reasonable legislators on both sides of the abortion issue. The vast majority of people expected to buy policies on the new exchanges would pay part of the premium and receive government tax credits to pay for the rest. The compromise would have prohibited the use of the tax subsidies to pay for almost all abortions, but it would have allowed the segregation and use of premium contributions and co-payments to pay for such coverage.
I'm opposed to the Stupak Amendment and broadly in favor of abortion rights, but I don’t see how this original compromise could be considered “reasonable.” Money is fungible. There is no way to 'segregate' the tax subsidies from the abortion coverage. Either the federal government funds abortion or it doesn't.
This seems a rather obvious point. In fact, read what the NYT Editorial Board wrote just over a year ago in its commentary ('Money Really is Fungible') on executive pay caps:
Just weeks after the Treasury Department gave nine of the nation’s top banks $125 billion in taxpayer dollars to save them from unprecedented calamity, bank executives are salting money away in billionaire bonus pools to reward themselves for their performance.
Outraged? The bankers (who didn’t anticipate the subprime crisis) were ready for that. So they are assuring everyone that this self-directed largess won’t be paid with the same dollars they got from taxpayers. They’ll use other ones.
What we want to know is will they be marking the bills so they can be sure which is which?
Is there any real difference between these two situations, other than the fact that the former involves abortion and the latter involves greedy bank executives? How can you recognize the absurdity of one scenario, and consider the other “reasonable”?
If the NYT Editorial Board was honest, it would make the case that abortions should be publically funded. Instead, it has decided to chastise abortion opponents who refused to accept an illogical compromise.
There are many women in the United States who oppose abortion, and if asked would agree that federal money shouldn’t fund it, so the assertion that the amendment throws 50 percent of the population under the bus isn’t accurate, unless one takes the position that these anti-abortion women are suffering from false consciousness.
Actually, no matter what their beliefs about abortion, every woman in this country is indeed screwed over by this amendment. Many, many women who are opposed abortion rights have exercised those rights themselves -- whether for health reasons or because, when it came right down to it, they simply found themselves making a different choice than they thought they would in that situation.
Megan McArdle is concerned with Friedman's argument:
[A]s a response, this seems to trivialize the preferences of pro-life women in a way that I find pretty disturbing from feminists. In what other area of life is it okay to pat the little lady on the head and tell her that she doesn't really want what she says she wants, because she might regret it later?
. . .
Obviously, since I'm pro-choice, I think you can argue against abortion control in many effective ways. But this is not one of them--at least not if you hew to the feminist notion that women are entitled to their own choices and preferences as individuals, not lumped in with some vast undifferentiated mass of women who all want the same thing.