Conservatives continue to be outraged by the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that basic insurance policies cover maternity and newborn care. When Rep. Renee Ellmers, the chairwoman of the House GOP Women’s Policy Committee, asked Kathleen Sebelius “Has a man ever delivered a baby?” she was introducing her party’s best new argument against Obamacare. Forget “death panels”; now we have “birth panels,” which force Americans to pay for the continuation of the human species whether they want to or not.
You would think the supposedly “pro-life” party would be happy to put the power of the government behind keeping pregnant women and unborn babies safe and healthy. We should never let her lack of access to prenatal and newborn care make a woman decide abortion is a better choice, right?
Wrong. In fact, the right’s campaign against maternity coverage has only gotten more strident. Just Monday morning, Harvard economist and George W. Bush Council of Economic Advisors chair Greg Mankiw argued against such coverage with the worst analogy yet:
But having children is more a choice than a random act of nature. People who drive a new Porsche pay more for car insurance than those who drive an old Chevy. We consider that fair because which car you drive is a choice. Why isn’t having children viewed in the same way?
Oh boy. Maybe Mankiw needs to read E. J. Dionne’s latest column, “What’s the Matter With Motherhood?” Dionne is a Catholic liberal with a long history of advocating that pro-choice liberals should try to find common ground with antiabortion folks on issues like maternal and child care, women, infants and children nutrition programs and other supports to make sure women are never forced to have an abortion for economic reasons. But in the last decade liberals can’t find conservatives in Congress to collaborate with on those issues.
Indeed, Dionne found that conservatives are tying themselves in knots arguing against the ACA’s maternity-coverage provisions. In the National Review, Deroy Murdoch takes a novel gay-rights approach. “How about lesbians who do not want kids, and are highly unlikely to become pregnant accidentally?” Is the National Review now going to champion the rights of lesbians? Don’t hold your breath.
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