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You Can't Escape The Abortion Fight

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AP Photo / Susan Walsh

I wish I could say I'm surprised, and I remember at the time that fights over how abortion would be covered under the new law almost killed it. To fend off any public fights over abortion, the White House preemptively had closed-door meetings with pro-choice and pro-life advocates to try to agree on a game plan ahead of time. This, of course, is folly, and abortion became central not just to debates over the Affordable Care Act but in many subsequent elections.

Just as it seemed like Democrats were approaching the finish line on the bill in 2009, former Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) offered up the Stupak-Pitts amendment that mandated no federal dollars could be used to pay for abortions, something that pro-choice advocates were livid about at the time. Ironically, pro-life advocates made it very clear that they understood that abortion care and general health care were inextricably linked -- launching their passion to do something about it.

You can't separate abortion debates from Obamacare debates because you can't separate abortion from health care. Pro-lifers understand that, even if they pretend not to.

That brings us to today, where states around the country are working on passing their own restrictions on Obamacare's coverage of abortion. It's not so different from what happened in Michigan, which also banned abortion coverage under Obamacare, but there it did it without exceptions and therefore pro-choicers were able to talk about how women would have to purchase a "rape rider" to cover abortions.

Scott rightly points out that anti-choice Republicans at the state level are simply using anti-Obamacare sentiment now to tie in to their anti-abortion bills. We already know that abortion is a medical procedure more regulated than any other, so why stop when you have a great excuse like Obamacare?

About The Author

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Kay Steiger is an associate editor at Talking Points Memo. She formerly worked at Raw Story, Washingtonian magazine, the Center for American Progress and The American Prospect. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, the Guardian, Jezebel, AlterNet and others. She graduated from the University of Minnesota. Contact her at kay@talkingpointsmemo.com.