unintended consequences: Stupak Amendment & miscarriages edition

One of the most interesting things I have read about the Stupak Amendment is this:

Will the Stupak Amendment Affect Insurance Coverage for Miscarriages? I Think So

Sadly, the author experienced a miscarriage recently. In her case, as sometimes happens, the fetus had yet to be expelled. She was put in the difficult position of either waiting for that to occur naturally, or choosing either a chemical abortion or D&C. Each had different risks and costs. The author, like many women who miscarry, chose to undergo the procedure.

Although the fetus is this sort of case is deceased, there is some question (and dispute) as to how the procedure to remove it is typically described medically, or how it is supposed to be documented. It may be described as an abortion. If so, then the Stupak Amendment (which I wrote about earlier this week) would forbid public funding of these procedures even in the case of miscarriage.

It is doubtful that even the most ardent of pro-lifers intended to limit access to post-miscarriage medical care. The mainstream feminists who claim that generous reproductive care, including abortion, is a non-negotiable when it comes to health care reform are using this unintended consequence as evidence that the government should generously fund care but stay the heck out of decisions between a woman and her doctor.

However, that position is not politically viable right now. And, I was taken aback at the naïveté of one commenter who wrote to the OP: “Your eloquent post points out the problems when legislators do not adequately consider complex issues.” The legislators are trying to consider complex issues, but no result will ever be satisfactory to everyone, and there will always be unintended consequences. If they try to write in miscarriage exceptions to Stupak, the pro-life contingency will object that such measures will be used to cover up actual abortions with miscarriage paperwork. Or, women will start trying to induce miscarriages themselves at home, so that the care afterward will be covered by their publicly funded health plans.

There will not be any no strings attached public funding of reproductive health care anytime soon. Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, take a look at how legislative bodies have always functioned in the past, and take a guess as to whether you will be happy with how they handle bungle this one.

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