Monday, November 9, 2009

Feminism and health reform (2)

Megan McArdle does her usual excellent job in explaining why the Stupak amendment was pretty much inevitable. After dismissing the “transparently ineffective gimmick” of “segregating the funds so that the federal subsidy wouldn't pay for the abortion part” she writes (emphasis mine):

I knew this was coming two years ago, and not because I'm sort of amazing prognosticator. Medicaid in most places covers abortion only in the cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother because, well, when the government provides your health care, the procedures that are covered will be determined politically.

My favorite part of her post, though, is what comes right after that quote:

I had thought that Democratic feminists understood the trade off they were making, and believed that it was worth it. But many of them seem to be genuinely surprised that health care rules will be written with respect to the opinions of the National Right to Life Committee.

Yes, they are surprised. Even liberal feminists who saw clearly the misogyny in last year’s Democratic primary fight and Presidential campaign never seem to have realized there would be any trade-off. Oh, sure, they worried a little about what might happen if we had government health care and the Republicans ran the government. But that was a concern for later, not for now. After all, they somehow managed to convince themselves, surely Democratic health reform would include support for abortion funding - and birth control.

I can’t really blame the Democrats for thinking liberal feminists will be willing to sit still for this: 2008 proved the Democratic Party owns most liberal feminists literally body and soul. Or as our mothers might put it, why would they buy the cow when they're getting the milk for free?

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