Why Abortion Should Be Covered

Read in detail at Salon.com Broadsheet

1. Abortion is legal medical care.

2. Abortion is common, mainstream medical care. It is one of the most common surgical procedures in America.

3. Abortion is already broadly covered. Between 50 and 85 percent of women who have private insurance, including employer-sponsored plans, have coverage for abortion care.

4. Covering abortion does not raise the abortion rate.

5. Covering abortion makes abortion safer. Out of pocket, abortion can be expensive, all the more so as the pregnancy progresses. Yet women who take time to “save up” only wind up paying more — and taking more risk.

6. Covering abortion is what the people want. According to a recent poll by the Mellman Group, voters oppose reform that would prohibit insurance companies from covering abortion.

7. Excluding abortion from coverage sends us down a slippery “moral” slope.

8. Let’s have insurance companies hold an annual poll of subscribers and decide on a majority basis what gets covered. Let’s especially ask if they want their premiums to pay for obesity-related diseases, smoking-related diseases, STDs, neonatal intensive care where the life expectancy is less than 5 percent and put a cap on care for people over 80.

9. Without coverage, there is no “choice.” Sex — a natural human drive for most — entails risks. Even with the best prevention measures, there will be unintended pregnancies.

10. Megan Carpentier, former Jezebel writer and current editor of News and Politics of Air America Radio, sums it up thusly: “Why should abortion be covered? Because sometimes abortion is medically necessary, and the government shouldn’t be writing regulations from Washington that tell a woman in Kansas when that is. Because exempting cases of rape and incest, as the Hyde Amendment does, means that women who are victims of rape and incest don’t get the coverage they’re supposed to have anyway, because there’s no way to police whether their pregnancies are the result of government-approved circumstances. Because there’s no actual government money that’s going to get spent on the so-called public option, so it’s a question of whether you, with your own money, can get insurance that covers what you choose to have it cover. And because eliminating coverage that currently exists through federal law is just another back-door way for the antiabortion movement to make it more difficult and expensive for women to get a legal medical procedure, since they can’t convince women not to have abortions on the ‘merits’ of their arguments.”

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