Looking Behind the Curtain of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

by Erin Matson, NOW Action Vice President

HR3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, represents the worst this country has to offer. It would:

- Cement the Hyde Amendment, an illegitimate tack-on to an annual appropriations measure, into law. Under the Hyde Amendment federal funding for abortion care is barred in nearly every circumstance. The burdens of the Hyde Amendment are suffered disproportionately by poor women of color who participate in the Medicaid program.

- Subject millions of individuals, families and businesses to tax penalties if their private insurance coverage should happen to cover abortion care. Currently the overwhelming majority of private insurance providers cover abortion care.

Much attention has been paid to a provision of the bill that has since been dropped, which would have narrowed exceptions in the case of rape to what elite Republican men consider "rape" -- disincluding withdrawn consent, women not fighting back to avoid further danger, date rapes, rapes occuring after a woman has become intoxicated or even drugged by her attacker.

It's time to focus once again on the grievous injury of what the Hyde Amendment represents. Abortion is a legal medical procedure protected by the constitutional right to privacy; segregating access to this form of health care is discrimination against women. Let's pause to consider that most of our country's history has been punctuated by men making choices for women without their consent.

In the case of the Hyde Amendment, a minority religious belief opposed to all abortion rights has turned into a directive for Medicaid recipients; federal employees and their dependents; service members, retirees and their dependents; federal prisoners; Native Americans; Peace Corps volunteers and women in newly created high-risk health insurance pools. Once health insurance exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act go into effect, the Hyde Amendment will come to meddle with private transactions between individuals and insurance companies for the first time. The directive is always the same:

Now that you are pregnant, your body no longer belongs to you. It belongs to one religious viewpoint. Should you dare to examine your own physical, emotional and financial circumstances and acknowledge that you are not ready or able to have a child (or an additional child -- let's be clear that most women who have abortions do so to better take care of children they already have), please be prepared to sell your car, go without groceries or hope that an abortion fund can help.

This type of injustice is precisely what our country is not supposed to stand for. Segregation. Discrimination. Religion operating as public policy.

Today the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution will hold a hearing on HR3. Testifying in favor will be a representative of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has been wrongfully excused from nearly all of the lobbying and disclosure regulations that apply to everyone else, and the Family Research Council, which has been formally recognized as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

It is certain these two groups will trope out the usual accusations of murder (which is, under no medical definition, what abortion care does). Recently Speaker John Boehner referred to HR3 as a "highest priority" and then acknowledged that a jobs package would come later. Also, a recent poll showed that abortion policy "barely registers" among voters who are looking to the new Congress to lead the country.

For a woman trying to do the best she can for herself and her family, it really does register. As an activist for abortion rights, I have seen the violence and extreme rhetoric employed by those in the minority who wish to end abortion rights for everybody. Last Saturday I was escorting patients outside a clinic in Southern New Jersey, and I was moved by one woman I walked with. She looked at the men who had squirted ketchup in the snow and were accusing her of belonging to the Gestapo through a bullhorn -- really? she said. She was scared but firm. I have no idea what her situation was, and that's her business. It's certainly not anyone's right to harass her or tell her what to do. We will not hear from her or any woman in this country who has had an abortion today.

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Comment from: cabaret voltaire [Visitor]
Lets be realistic, the vast majority of abortions performed are not because of rape or sexual assault.

Also, abortion rights have nothing to do with equal rights. Some feminists will claim our government doesn't tell men what to do with our bodies. That's not entirely true. Thousands of infant boys are circumcised each year. We all must keep in mind their is nothing about male sexuality that comes close to the complexity of pregnancy and child birth. There's no equivalent. I realize feminists are often reluctant to acknowledge biological differences and its impact on gender roles. But in the case of reproduction -- the sexes are very different.
02/11/11 @ 12:11
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Comment from: mromano [Member] Email

Did you only join this blog so that you could rip apart every single blog post that you don't agree with? If so, could you please use actual facts, not something that you pull out of the air.

And if you are going to make a comparison, please do not use circumcision to compare to abortion. Not only do parents have a say in whether or not to perform such an operation on a newborn, but there is no bill in Congress at the moment trying to take away this right.

If you turn out to be that hater lawyer from the upper east side of Manhattan, I will laugh my butt off.
02/15/11 @ 15:40
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Comment from: letsbefair [Member] Email

I think cabaret's point that the government is allowing the ~80% of boys in the country to be circumcised against their will means that the government is not giving boys and men control over their body. It then follows that women should not have that right either.

Following this logically, then, woman and men should both have freedom over their OWN body. Not parents over a child's. Which then raises the question of whether a woman DOES have the right to abort. Why do we continually delay the bestowal of rights to one's body? Not before birth...that lets women abort. Not after birth...that lets men be circumcised. Which end is an oppressive one?
02/16/11 @ 00:57
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Comment from: cabaret voltaire [Visitor]
@ mromano

This blog is an open forum and difference of opinion should be respected. I'm not attacking anyone and welcome difference of opinion. I wish I could say the same about you. You insinuated I'm a 'hater lawyer'. It seems your resorting to childish name calling.

Truth be told, they're are aspects of feminism I don't agree with. I will not stifle my opinion.

Another thought. I just read an article where Terry O'Neill was speaking about defunding planned parenthood. She was quoted as saying opponents of planned parenthood hate women. Why do some feminists think just because you don't agree with them you must hate women? Sounds like hypersensitivity.
02/22/11 @ 16:04
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Comment from: kmrosenbaum [Member] Email
I support my right to an abortion. However, I don't want to pay for anyone else's abortion. At some point, NOW should make a bigger effort to advocate for individual responsibility as well.
03/22/11 @ 18:36
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Comment from: blackngoldfan2004 [Member] Email
Yeah, Cabaret. Don't compare circumcision to abortion. Children aren't killed out of conveniece during circumcision. Apples/oranges.

"Now that you are pregnant, your body no longer belongs to you. It belongs to one religious viewpoint. Should you dare to examine your own physical, emotional and financial circumstances and acknowledge that you are not ready or able to have a child (or an additional child -- let's be clear that most women who have abortions do so to better take care of children they already have), please be prepared to sell your car, go without groceries or hope that an abortion fund can help."

If your financial situation is such that you can't afford a child, practice safe sex. I'm pro-choice... I just happen to think the choice comes before the act of conception. Two words: personal responsibility. Then again, this is America, circa 2011.... there is no such thing anymore because of progressive "values".
03/23/11 @ 10:16
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Comment from: troutpout [Member]
Sexual "freedom" has created more harm to women's bodies than ever before. More std's, more abortions, more broken relationships and heartbreak. More men have suffered the loss of their children without any recourse. They have been lied to and punished for a consentual act that created a child. It's going to take more than a little pill to solve the problems of poverty in our country and the world, because after 40yrs the pill hasn't solved anything. It's done enormous harm.You stigmitize women for not aborting their children if they can't financially afford them...You are prejudice against women of color and economics saying if they only had better access to birth control etc. etc. Where are those statistics? You are fanatics. Your work has helped to declare a baby in the womb is not a baby until 20wks gestation. Tell that to the woman who is pregant at 18 weeks and miscarries after her boyfriend beats her up for "becoming" pregnant. The LAW is on his side. No charges for causing the death of the baby. You lie when you say it is all about choice...no images of babies in the womb during the first trimester on your website. No information about what is really going on in a woman's body during an abortion. I finally woke up to all the lies. You don't educate women, you lie to them. While abortion may remain legal, NOW is not telling the truth about it. You have your agenda, and your agenda is to silence women about choice.
04/06/11 @ 02:45
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Comment from: nothing2it [Member] Email
They are not going to stop until they reverse Roe vs. Wade -- we need to stand up again, we fought hard in the 60's to get these rights - those of us born in that era remember how awful it was for woman when men and others controlled our bodies and made our decisions for us.

We need to retain these hard fought rights and keep the decision for our lives and our futures ours and up to us. If we allow these lawmakers to take these rights away we are going to regret it in years to come - - trust me you don't want to go back to those days.

The whole pro-life movement which you will note is mostly controlled and dominated by men is nothing more than a tool used to manipulate and intimidate woman . These same people support war and send off our young people to kill innocent woman, children and the elderly of other countries - they could care less about human life what they want is power and control pure and simple.
05/05/11 @ 03:53
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Comment from: glad_to_be_here [Member]

Did you know that when children are under the age of 18, there parents make their medical decisions for them?

The only logical understanding of cabaret's argument requires the axiom that boys, men, and women have the same sovereign rights to their medical decisions. Men and women have the same rights. Boys and girls have the same rights.

I'm worried more that you compare infant boys to adult women than that you compare circumcision to pregnancy.
06/15/11 @ 04:08
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