The debate about whether the health care bill would cover abortions led to considerable controversy as well as the shouting of “it’s a baby killer.” Ant-abortion folks were, of course, determined to abort any abortion coverage and were rather loud about the matter. The end result was that there will not be federally funded abortion funding under the bill. There will be, however, exceptions for situations involving rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger. Those who wish to get abortion coverage will need to buy their own coverage.
On the face of it, this seems reasonable. After all, coverage is provided in cases in which abortion is medically necessary as well as in cases when abortion is almost universally regarded as morally acceptable. Cases in which abortion would be a matter of choice rather than medical necessity would not be funded. In most cases, medical coverage should follow this pattern: what is medically necessary should be covered and what is not should require purchasing additional coverage (or perhaps not be covered at all).
However, this pattern is not always followed. In some cases, what is not medically necessary (like Viagra) is covered while what is actually necessary (like the brace I needed after my quadriceps tendon repair surgery) is not covered. As such, it could be argued that if coverage is provided for other medically unnecessary things, then the same should apply to abortion (and if abortion is not covered, then these other things should not be covered either). So, if abortion is not to be funded when it is a matter of choice, the same principle should be applied across the board.
Another obvious point of concern is that the arguments against providing coverage for abortion tended to be moral or religious arguments. To be specific, the general idea is that since abortion is wrong (or people do not want to fund it), then federal money should not be used to fund it. Of course, if that were to be adopted as a general principle (if X is wrong or people do not want to fund X, then X cannot be funded with federal money), then many things that federal money funds (like war) would have to be cut as well.
Of course, if we should use religious views to decide what should be funded by the state, why not save a lot of money on health care and just go with Christian Science?
Turning back to the main point, it could be argued that the state has to fund things that are regard as immoral by some (such as war) for the general good. After all, while money used to buy weapons kills people, this is acceptable for the greater good. Interestingly,the same sort of argument could be given for funding abortion with federal money.
One final point is that the bill does not seem to ban, limit or restrict abortions. While it could be argued that not paying for an abortion restricts it, that is a poor argument. After all, the federal government does not pay for my running shoes, but it does not thus limit or restrict my right to run.