Crossposted with permission from debcoop at Open Left. The original post can be found here.

Senator McCaskill is sadly wrong on what the Stupak-Pitts amendment prohibits.  Even if she were right, it would still be a wound to the rights of women in this country. Even if the original Stupak amendment passed which only included the public option,  not the entire exchanges,  that would still have been the biggest blow for women since the original Hyde amendment.  Which has always been a vindictive piece of legislation aimed at the most vulnerable among us.  

The Hyde amendment is now a festering sore that has suppurated which will deprive American women of all kinds from the poor to middle and even upper class women, access to an essential reproductive rights.  

But the Senator’s understanding is a misunderstanding of great proportions.  She is wrong.  The prohibition is not on individuals in the exchanges who buy plans but on the plans which GET subsidies.

Senator McCaskill said via the Huffington Post…

“But we are talking about whether or not people that get public money can buy an insurance policy that has a coverage for abortion. And that is not the majority of America. The majority of America is not going to be getting subsidies from the government….”

The majority of America now gets coverage from their employers who will be allowed to purchase on the exchanges.  

But she is very, very wrong on the mechanism for prohibiting abortion coverage.. She has it backwards.  Her misunderstanding is convenient perhaps because it allows her to proceed under the assumption that few people will be affected. Maybe that makes it better in her mind.

She is wrong.  Millions of women –now without insurance and even those now with it in the private market will be affected.  In a few years all women will be affected as employers are allowed to enter the exchanges.  No abortion coverage for anyone at all.

See David Dayen at Firedoglake:…

The federal subsidies affect the plan, not just the individuals in the plan.  It is not just the individual who has subsides that can’t get abortion coverage.  It is that any subsidy from anyone taints the entire plan. So any plan that gets subsidies from anyone at all can not offer abortion coverage.

Any woman who now is getting some form of individual coverage – I am unsure of how the Cobra coverage would be classified – will not be able to get a plan that has abortion coverage. Anyone who is self employed – from attorneys, to real estate agents to consultants to a vast number of people who now HAVE coverage will have to go to the exchanges and lose the abortion coverage they have now.  It is not just the 47 million uninsured but the additional millions of people who have private coverage now.

Can you buy a plan separately without abortion coverage? The anti choice people say that. Not so.  It is a chimera. You won’t be able to in the real world.  Why? Simple.

1. It is ridiculous to say that women plan ahead for unplanned pregnancies

2. In the exchange,  a plan supposedly may offer abortion coverage, but since they now have to take anyone who wants to buy it –irony of ironies — they can NOT turn people down who have subsidies so they won’t be able to offer abortion coverage.  It won’t take them more than a minute to realize this so they won’t offer them in the exchanges.

3. There will exist only 2 marketplaces – employer based plans or union plans are one and the exchanges are the other.  So they would have to create a plan outside of the exchanges and outside of employer based markets.  How and in what market can insurers sell plans that cover abortion?  There will no no such marketplace. Insurers don’t put plans together that have no market —that’s capitalism.  

Only employer based plans that have no federal subsides can offer abortion coverage now.

The “Compassion” Exceptions are a Farce

As to the “compassion” of allowing coverage for “rape, incest, life of the mother”,  note that HEALTH is not included.  So a large number of abortions for terrible late term conditions —abortions that are horribly expensive, 10’s of thousands of dollars –will NOT be covered.  Abortion where the mother’s future fertility is at stake.  abortions for horrible fetal anomalies like anencephaly or hydrocephaly will not be covered for fetuses who will die moments from birth. In addition the life of the mother has been defined,  not a potential future death,  but an immediate death which will happen within hours or minutes as now defined by the Supreme Court.

D&C’s for Incomplete Miscarriages are ABORTIONS.

Often when a miscarriage occurs, it is incomplete. The fetus and placenta are not fully expelled.  A D&C would then need to be performed by a doctor.  Medically that is classified as an abortion.  If these fetal remains are not removed by this “abortion”,  then the women will develop an infection, which can either cause death, illness or destroy her future abilty to carry a child to term.  This coverage will now also be prohibited by Stupak-Pitts.

On a personal note my first 2 pregnancies were miscarriages with incomplete expulsion of fetal remains.  They required hospital stays and my insurance covered it.  My last pregancy did not go to term because the fetus had died in utero.  It was unplanned for despite using birth control, in the real world that happens, but nevertheless I was very happy about it. A sonogram showed ther was no heartbeat, but I was not miscarrying at all. I would need a D&C abortion.  I had a low grade fever for a week which was the toxemia caused by the fetal remains.  If I had not had the D&C, which again, medically is an abortion – I could have become ill or died.  In the last hour 2 other women have told me they too have had just such heartbreaking and potentially dangerous events.  Most women have been shamed into not sharing them with the world. That’s one reason we can do this so blithely…We think it’s other people’s lives and sorrows, not our lives  or sorrows or anyone we know and love.