One of the goals of feminists going into the health reform debate this year was to work on repealing the Hyde Amendment (the federal budget clause that prohibits Medicaid from paying for abortions in all but the most limited of circumstances). Instead of moving toward that goal, it appears that the complete opposite is gaining momentum — using health reform to ban private insurance coverage of abortion.
This article from today’s Times is chilling. It sounds like a good number of Democrats are joining Republicans to push for a clause in the health reform bill to prevent any federal money going to any plan that covers abortions. Because one of the health reform ideas is to allow public money to be spent by private individuals to purchase private plans, this prohibition would extend to private plans. In effect, this would end private insurance coverage of abortion. So, not only would Hyde be preserved, but it would be expanded to eliminate any insurance plan from covering abortion.
– David S. Cohen