Conservatives’ Big Government Abortion Hypocrisy

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.

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About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Jason Dick

    Indeed. They’ve realized that they can’t outlaw abortion, because they just don’t have the public support, so they’re trying to sneak in through the back door laws that make abortions difficult or impossible.

    I would really, really like to see a broad strike-down of these types of laws, as they are in clear violation of the original Roe v. Wade decision.

    • AnonaMiss

      Unfortunately I don’t see the SCOTUS broadly striking down anything in the near future, unless it’s protections against corporate power.

  • Katherine Lorraine, Tortue du Désert avec un Coupe-Boulon

    Targets Restrictions against Abortion Provider (TRAP) laws have all but shut down the only abortion clinic in Mississippi – unless a judge stops them from taking effect. And if a judge doesn’t stop those TRAP laws, they’ll be implemented in North Dakota among other states.

    The only people the Republicans care to allow abortions for are rich women who can go out of state or out of country in order to get one. Read here ––The-Only-Moral-Abortion-Is-My-Abortion# – for a good article on the matter.

  • smrnda

    A rationalization might be that interventions are necessary to protect life, but conservatives pitch this duty out the door when it comes to anyone else except a fetus.

    They oppose stricter workplace safety laws and regulations, and enough Republicans would be happy with repealing all of them. If you happen to become seriously ill, just hurry up and die since it’s wrong to expect *other people* to pay $$ to save your life through either access to health care.

    The thing is, to protect life from workplace hazards, it might cost an employer $$ but it isn’t likely to drive them into the red. If we all had to pay taxes to finance other people’s health care, we’d be getting the same access ourselves, and taxes aren’t that much of an imposition. Demanding that someone carry a pregnancy to term, and to agree to invasive and medically unnecessary procedures is a far greater demand.

    Why do they approve? Because it’s women getting pissed on, and that makes it okay to them.

    I’m shocked that legislators are allowed to pass legislation demanding medically unnecessary treatments, but they get the power to decide what science should be taught in school by vote some places, so no surprise.

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    What is even the point of the second ultrasound? The first ultrasound at least serves the purpose of emotionally manipulating the woman by forcing her to see her fetus, but wouldn’t the second just show an empty uterus? That doesn’t even benefit the pro-lifers.

    • jemand

      to be expensive, probably.

    • Christine

      To harass women who want abortions.

    • Rosie

      In the case of medical abortion (which is what I had), the second ultra-sound was to make sure it was complete (since most of it happens at home). Mine wasn’t. I was given more medication and told to come back in another week, at which time if it still wasn’t complete I think I would have been given the surgical procedure. The good news is that Planned Parenthood does not charge extra if that happens. The bad news is the clinic is two hours from my house.

    • Desiree

      To punish the women for having an abortion. “Pro-lifers” can not force a woman the first time to keep the pregnancy so they have to harass her afterwards for going against their dictates.

  • Louise

    I wonder who is going to fund the ultrasounds. Will they set aside millions of dollars for medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds? Those things are really expensive. Or is it not their problem, that women should have thought of that before having sex for pleasure, not for procreation.

    • M

      The latter. The woman seeking the abortion is also on the hook for the ultrasounds, since it’s “part of the cost”, just like waiting periods mean the woman has to pay for the additional gas for an additional trip and/or a hotel room to wait in. We have to punish women for daring to have sex, after all!

  • perfectnumber628

    This probably goes without saying, but: the pro-life side knows they won’t be able to ban abortions directly, so their strategy is to make all these laws that make it essentially impossible to actually get an abortion (and yes, I’ve read stuff that pretty much stated explicitly that this is their strategy).

    So every new bit of red tape is seen as a victory- regardless of whether it makes any sense- because it makes it harder to get an abortion.

  • Steve

    The whole American big government vs small government thing is ridiculous from the ground up. It’s reached a point where even vital social and public services are decried as “big government”.

  • Jasmyn

    They do want small government. Just small enough to fit in your vagina.

    • Little Magpie

      Well summed up. I need a “like” button. :)

  • saramaimon

    An ultrasound after ru is part of routine care. like all other medical exams the dr is supposed to explain the reasons, and provide an appointment. if you dont show up for your appt thats your decision as an adult to make. by making it the doctprs gliability they prob hope to dissuade drs from offering the service

  • Rootboy

    I can sort of squint and see this making sense in a twisted kind of way: you believe, sincerely, that government regulation is terrible because it inhibits productive activity, and therefore try to fight the regulation. Then you find what you consider to be a terrible, immoral activity – abortions. You’d make it illegal, but the Supreme Court says no. So what do you do? Unleash the devastating weapon of government regulation! So the philosophy is less “government regulation = bad”, but “government regulation can only stop things from happening, so we should only regulate the things that want to happen.”

    In the real world I’m find saying they’re just hypocrites and that no one in politics actually cares about ideological consistency.

    • Rootboy

      Uh, “the things that we don’t want to happen”.

  • Anonymouse

    Ironically, when I was in danger of losing a very-much-wanted-and-planned-for pregnancy, I could *not* have an ultrasound to check for viability because my insurance wouldn’t cover it. I guess I should have gone in claiming I wanted an abortion, and then I could have had fifty ultrasounds? Then had a “conversion” on the table and said I’d keep the pregnancy? What kind of insanity is that?

  • phantomreader42

    When conservatives say they want smaller government, they are lying.
    When conservatives say they’re “pro-life”, they are lying.
    When conservatives say the policy choices they fought for are somehow the fault of liberals when they prove unpopular, they are lying.
    When conservatives say they value freedom, they are lying.
    When conservatives say that they, and they alone, are the only true Americans, they are lying.

    When conservatives say just about ANYTHING, they are LYING!

    This really shouldn’t surprise anyone anymore.

    • Malitia

      As far as I can tell in the conservative world view freedom means: Everybody has the right to be just like me.

  • Jurgan

    “What makes Indiana really stand out, though, is that this bill, SB 371, would require two ultrasounds—before and after the abortion.”

    Really puts the lie to the “saving babies” argument, doesn’t it? Assuming the point was in fact to try to convince women that the fetus was a human being and they shouldn’t “murder” it, what’s the point of the second ultrasound? It’s too late to “save” the “baby-” it’s nothing but a hassle. Well, it’s a good way to punish women for not having the right morals.

  • Gail

    The conservative view on “big government” doesn’t seem to apply to defense spending either. As far as I can tell, both parties want basically the same level of government, but one side wants in the areas of defense and misogynist regulation, and the other wants it in social services.

    • Mostlylurking

      I know wich I prefer.

  • Barbure

    The availability of abortion drugs that can be used privately in one’s own home is something that is setting anti-choicers’ hair on fire. It’s impossible to stalk, threaten, and harass women who aren’t at a freestanding clinic, and they’re trying desperately to keep abortion in the public domain. Otherwise, how are they going to “shame” us?

  • VA

    My favorite part of the debate was a quote from Sue Swayze, Indiana’s Right to Life director. When asked about the invasive nature of trans-vaginal ultrasounds she said, “I got pregnant vaginally. Something else could come in my vagina for a medical test that wouldn’t be that intrusive to me. So I find that argument a little ridiculous.”

    So, if at any point in my life I allow a penis in my vagina (consensual sex), I’ve created a permanent easement through which “something else could come in my vagina” and that wouldn’t be intrusive. I’ve had sex; what’s a probe or two compared to a penis?

    It’s people like this that keep me regularly volunteering as a clinic escort.