For some pro-choice women, the pro-life Stupak amendment in the health-care bill is a dealbreaker. But one pro-choice writer, the Washington Post's Ruth Marcus, says today that she's "sympathetic to the notion that taxpayers should not have to pay for a procedure they believe is tantamount to murder."
Marcus sets out to debunk some myths and fuzzy claims on both sides of the debate. First, she says the Stupak amendment wasn't necessary to keep federal money away from abortions--the pro-lifers got that one wrong. But it's also hypocritical for liberals to object to Stupak when they've also argued that federal money shouldn't go to parochial schools. Her conclusion? It's time to move on:
Pro-choice forces may be making a mistake in elevating the importance of the amendment to the degree they have. The Stupak amendment is not worth killing health reform over.
The women most hurt by the amendment stand to gain much more from expanded insurance coverage. And while having coverage is preferable, it is not the same as putting an insurmountable obstacle in the way of abortion rights. Women who lack insurance still obtain--and, if the amendment survives, still will be able to obtain--abortions. It's possible that the exchanges will evolve to supplant employer-based insurance, making the amendment's impact far greater than it now appears.
That remote risk isn't worth the greater danger: losing the opportunity to get reform now.