Georgia Republican State Senator Judson Hill is hoping to ban abortion coverage in the state health insurance plan, a move that could affect over 600,000 residents who are either employed by or covered by an employee of the state.
Sen. Hill admits that while he would like to ensure that abortions aren’t somehow subsidized by those who are anti-choice, the main impulse behind the bill is his own desire to end abortions, pointing to the death of his own very premature twin children as the impulse driving his beliefs. He told the Marietta Daily Journal, “They lived for about a day, held them, squeezed my finger, and I understand what a 1.4, 1.6 pound baby child of yours is like. That if nothing else solidified my views that these are young lives. These fetuses are real lives.”
Sen. Hill’s ban on insurance coverage would apply in all situations, including in cases of sexual assault, the health of the pregnant woman or girl, and even for fetal anomalies. For many of these abortions, which tend to happen later in pregnancy, that is a much greater expense to be forced to cover out of pocket, and one that is obviously meant to financially coerce a pregnant woman out of terminating.
Using financial roadblocks to cut women off from a constitutional right to an abortion isn’t just for state employees, though. Congressional Republicans have year after year put their clout behind the reauthorization of the Hyde Amendment, the bill that prohibits using Medicaid funds to pay for abortions for poor women unless their lives or health are in danger or, depending on the year, if they became pregnant as a result of a sexual assault.
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If you ask an anti-choice politician the reason that the Hyde Amendment exists, they will usually frame it as an issue of taxpayer freedom. According to them, because not all taxpayers believe that women should be allowed to obtain an abortion, no taxpayer funds should ever be allowed to pay for them. The fact that others would be perfectly comfortable or supportive of taxes being used to provide abortion for women who do not wish to carry a pregnancy to term, or that abortion appears to be the only issue where a dislike of an action can be used as a justification for non-funding, doesn’t appear to matter.
But occasionally they will be more honest about the fact Hyde isn’t about allowing taxpayers to have some sort of clean conscience when it comes to abortion funding. It’s in essence about ensuring that poor women are forced to continue pregnancies they don’t want. And in that case, they measure their “victories” not in taxpayers saved from potentially paying for a procedure, but in how many children are born because their mothers had no money to pay for one themselves.
Hugely positive legislation, such as the Hyde Amendment, is distorted. It does not, alas, “prohibit federal funding of abortions,” with the implication that there is a government-wide prohibition. The Hyde Amendment is VERY important—at least one million Americans are alive who would not be otherwise. However it applies to money that flows through the HHS appropriations bill but not, for example, to the federal funds that will subsidize health plans that cover elective abortion under ObamaCare.
Like all anti-choice measures, the Hyde amendment and insurance bans exists only to force women to give birth. Nothing else. If they can’t force everyone not to have an abortion, they can at least force their beliefs and ideology on women too poor to fight back.