Abortion compromise and the logic of “states’ rights”

Feministe has a great post on the senate’s new health care bill. It explains where things stand if this goes through:

The women’s health compromise essentially kicks the issue to the states — it keeps the Hyde Amendment in tact across the board, and allows states to scale back abortion coverage even further if they choose. It’s better than Stupak, but it still really, really sucks.

But the best bit of the is actually a quite from Ezra Klein, discussing an argument from David Waldman:

The problem with leaving the decision up to the states, he says, is that it doesn’t go far enough. “I think states should leave the abortion question up to the counties,” he explains. “Then I think counties should leave the abortion question up to municipalities. Then the neighborhoods should leave the abortion question up to each block.” And each block, as you might have guessed, should leave the abortion question up to each household.

2 thoughts on “Abortion compromise and the logic of “states’ rights”

  1. Klein’s/Waldman’s comment makes no sense. If by “abortion question” they mean the particular question at hand, which is whether to exclude plans that offer abortion (not counting riders, which would always be available) from a publicly sponsored insurance exchange, then how do you make that work at the individual household level? Can you really have each household determine what goes on a subsidized public exchange? What does that even mean?

    On the other hand, if by “abortion question” they mean the question of whether to choose to seek an abortion, that’s already left up to each household (or really, to each pregnant mother). So what is the point here?

    I guess Waldman’s and Klein’s idea could work if we had each household decide what kinds of plans that particular household was going to subsidize, but that doesn’t seem materially different from having no publicly subsidized health insurance market at all.

    The Senate needs to address the crying need for more publicly subsidized Introductory Logic classes, and no state should be allowed to opt out.

  2. I took them to just be playing on the idea of choice. Conservatives often insist that “states should have a choice” about how they deal with abortion. So, they suggest, counties should have a choice on how they deal with abortion. Then blocks. Then individuals. You’re absolutely right that when one gets more precise about what’s meant by “how they deal with abortion” it all falls apart. But it made me laugh as I had my coffee.

Comments are closed.