Political conservatives talk constantly about their desire to make government smaller. The less government the better, they say. Get the government out of our lives, they say. Cut regulations and let the free market have its way, they say. Except, it seems, when it comes to abortion.
Did you know that eight states have banned private insurance companies from covering abortion in the policies they sell?
Bans on insurance coverage of abortion didn’t really became a thing until recently. The vast majority of private insurance plans covered abortion, as they would any common medical procedure, and no made any fuss about it. But then the debate over health care reform happened and ultimately opened up the possibility for states to ban all abortion coverage in the new health exchanges.
And, as expected, many states have seized on that opportunity, extending the bans to private insurance as well. At least 21 states have passed legislation to stop insurance companies from paying for abortion; in 8 states, no one can get a plan that covers the procedure.
That’s not exactly small government, is it? That’s not exactly about cutting regulations and letting the free market have its way, is it? In fact, that looks an awful lot like government interference in the activities of private companies.
You’ve heard about all those transvaginal ultrasound bills, right? Well Indiana has taken it to the next level. There’s a new bill moving through its legislature that would require women seeking the abortion pill to have two transvaginal ultrasounds.
What makes Indiana really stand out, though, is that this bill, SB 371, would require two ultrasounds—before and after the abortion. The bill would require physicians to “schedule a follow-up appointment” two weeks after RU-486 is administered.
Wouldn’t doctors know best when it comes to medical care for their own patients? In fact, the bill actually states that a doctor who does not do enough to make sure his or her patient returns for the later post-abortion ultrasound will be guilty of a crime and liable for arrest—regardless of the fact that current medical practice does not even deem this second ultrasound necessary in the first place. Since when is this small government?
This Indiana bill also requires abortion clinics to have hallways of specific dimensions and requires clinics that give out the abortion pill but do not perform surgical abortions to have the capacities for performing surgical abortions anyway. Isn’t this more government regulation? Whatever happened to cutting red tape?
And don’t think this is just Indiana. It’s not. It’s Virginia, and Texas, and dozens of other states too. Political conservatives talk on and on about the importance of small government, the importance of allowing the individual to make her own decision, and the problems with government regulation. But when it comes to abortion, they don’t give a sh*t about any of that. When it comes to abortion, it doesn’t matter what kind of insurance private companies want to offer their clients, or what individual doctors believe is best for their patients.
The truth is, when it comes to abortion, political conservatives toss their small government and anti-regulation rhetoric and embrace big, intrusive government and absolutely debilitating levels of red tape.