First of all, I’m delighted to have coined “Stupitts” as the short version of the much more cumbersome “Stupak-Pitts Amendment,” and heartily urge all to start using the short version in your everyday conversation.
Second, however, I do have a serious question about this. As we all know, the Hyde Amendment (on the books for many years) prohibits federal Medicaid funding to be used for abortions, except in the cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother. However, 17 states use their own state funds to expand Medicaid abortion coverage to reach all “medically necessary” abortions — a terminology that goes well beyond Hyde. Massachusetts is one of those states. (Interestingly, so is Alaska. Does Sarah Palin know about this?)
There are a lot of variables here. Should health care reform in something like its present form pass, we don’t know whether, or to what extent, MA would choose to continue using state money to expand abortion coverage for lower-income women who might be subject to Stupitts. But let’s assume for the purposes of discussion that, as seems reasonably likely to me, MA would choose to find a way to help women in that position obtain “medically necessary” abortions.
What that would mean, it seems to me, is that Stupitts might have very little impact on women in MA, just as the Hyde amendment has little impact on women in MA. Which brings us to my question:
Given that the passage of health care reform would undoubtedly benefit many women (and men, and children) in MA, and that Stupitts would have little effect in MA, is it appropriate for a Massachusetts Senator to vote against health care reform just because Stupitts is in it?