Posted Monday, Dec. 13, 2010, at 10:03 AM
The only constant in the narrative has been that conservative voters are being hoodwinked. The old narrative, promoted by Thomas Frank, was that conservatives were voting to stop abortion, but were getting instead tax cuts for the wealthy and rollbacks of protections for workers. In reality, of course, they were voting against abortion and getting draconian laws passed against abortion. Now the narrative is reversed, and conservatives are calling themselves "Tea Partiers,"and claiming they want a small, libertarian government. But they're getting politicians who are members of misogynist Christian cults that are using their newfound power to attack abortion rights .
I'm with Digby on this one . Just because the culture war doesn't get as much coverage sometimes as it should doesn't mean it's gone away. Conservative voters vote for what they want and get it. They've always kept abortion rights at the top of their kill list, and they've gotten much closer to their goal than is usually acknowledged in most of the media. The strategy for keeping the rollback of abortion rights out of the spotlight has been to focus attacks on women who have trouble affording time or money to go through an elaborate, expensive maze to get an abortion.
The new initiative , spearheaded by Representative Joe Pitts (who wrote the incorrectly named Stupak amendment to the health care bill), is to cut off all potential for anyone in the country to have an abortion covered by their insurance. The way what Pitts intends to accomplish this is to make it illegal for any insurance company who is receiving money from anyone subsidized by the government to cover abortion-for anyone. That means that if your employer pays for your insurance and you don't get any subsidies yourself, you still wouldn't have abortion coverage because someone else that is also covered by your insurance does have subsidies. The idea is to turn abortion into an out-of-pocket expense for everyone in the country, further distancing it from being understood for what it is-a necessary medical procedure-and recreating it to seem like it's a luxury item indulged in by slutty women who should just keep their legs shut.
Not that this is anything new. The Hyde Amendment that was passed in 1976 made it so most women on Medicaid who need abortions can't get them, creating a standard where your punishment for the non-crime of being poor and sexually active could be forced childbirth. Having succeeded like gangbusters at making the right to abortion dependent on income, Pitts and company are trying to expand the pool of women who fall below the income line where you have basic human rights. Now working class people who use private insurance are next. The end game is one where only women who can write a check for $500 or more on the spot can have abortions. Since half of Americans don't make enough money where they could come up with $2,000 in 30 days if they had to, the pool of women that fall below the income line where they're assured a right to abortion will be big indeed.
Of course, this attack on women is disguised as being "for the children." Personally, I can't think of anything less child-friendly than suggesting those who can least afford the tribulations of forced motherhood are the ones who should be the ones forced into it. Perhaps next is legislation that would require women forced to have children they know they couldn't afford to attend a seminar conducted by anti-choicers on why they're child abusers for having children they couldn't afford.