The freedom of choice

Put yourself in these shoes: You’re a 19-year-old sophomore at Castleton State College, you’re working a part-time job and trying your hardest to stay on top of both. Chaos is a good way to describe these college years. Now add this to your stress level: That one-night-stand last weekend just turned out to be more than you bargained for. You’re now a full-time student, part-time employee and a parent-to-be. Now what?Well, according to the new bill making it’s way through the U.S. legislature, you’re out of luck.

The Health Care Reform Bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on the evening of November 7th by a vote of 240-194 . Under this Democratic legislation, President Obama’s health care goals would nearly be within reach. This bill, if passed, hopes to cover up to 21 million Americans by 2019 by reducing health care costs, guaranteeing access to quality, affordable health care, while still allowing patient protection and increasing the health care options currently available to Americans. Sounds great, right? One problem. Not quite everything covered under this plan. So what got left out? The Vets? College kids? Surgeries? Meds? Nope. Abortion- surprise, surprise.

This bill would prohibit the government insurance plan from covering the cost abortions with the exception of extraordinary instances such as rape, incest, or cases where the mother’s life is in danger. The bill would also prevent Americans that receive federal health subsidies from using that money toward an abortion or purchasing an insurance plan that covers abortions. Insurance companies that do provide abortion coverage would not be federally assisted and would be required to offer an identical policy without abortion coverage.

So where do young women turn to? An abortion can range from $150 to $1,000 with the national average cost about $490. This is a staggering amount of money for a young woman, or even a couple, to provide without any help from the government. It is estimated that without public funding about 1.3 million additional unwanted pregnancies would occur. Inevitably, this would lead to issues within the socioeconomic structure of the United States (which is in such good shape now, anyway).

It must be taken into consideration, too, that although abortion is a moral issue, a religious issue, and so on with whatever other issues people have with abortion, that it is a (currently) legal medical procedure. I don’t see anywhere in this bill that the U.S. House is telling Americans they can not get their appendix removed.

“Like it or not, this is a legal medical procedure and we should respect those who need to make this very personal decision,” said Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo. in an interview on Nov. 9.

But this isn’t simply an issue about cost. This is an issue that falls back on young women in the United States and the government controlling their right- our right to control our own bodies. If this bill is passed, women across the nation will be abandoning their reproductive rights. And who are these middle-aged, balding men sitting on Capitol Hill to tell us what to do with our bodies? According to abortion rights advocates, this is the biggest set-back in women’s reproductive rights in decades. And do these same stuffy old men really believe that just because they ban abortion in a clinic it is going to stop? I’ll answer: Nope. If abortions become too expensive for women to pay for out of their own pockets, they will find a less expensive way. “Back-alley abortions” were common before the Roe versus Wade decision in 1973 and I find it hard to believe (especially in this economy) physicians would be against cutting a deal and performing an abortion for less than the average cost. But the lesser the cost, the lesser the care, the greater the risk.

Even liberal Vermont is being affected by the unpopularity of abortion. Currently, no hospitals in the state of Vermont will perform an abortion. If you Google where in Vermont you can have an abortion performed, you better hope your in Southern Vermont. In 2005 there were 12 abortion providers in the state. There are now two. Planned Parenthood of Rutland and Reproductive Services of Manchester.

As of 2005 in Vermont alone 9,200 of the 127,007 women of reproductive age became pregnant. Of those women, 1,490 got abortions. What if those women couldn’t have afforded an abortion because they had to pay the expense out of pocket? Talk about population increase. All you Ed. Majors out there, imagine your 3rd grade class going from 20 students to 32 students.

No, I’m not saying rush out, pregnant, and get that abortion you’ve always wanted and- QUICK! before this legislation passes. I’m not against babies. I don’t particularly love them but they’re cute sometimes. I am however for women and for couples having the option of choosing to get an abortion and that choice should not be determined by the government nor inhibited by cost.

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