Abortion threatens to derail the push for health care reform, as opponents use the prospect of subsidized procedures to turn pro-life Americans against the whole plan, writes Meredith Simmons for Slate. Progressives are indignant—abortion is a health procedure, they argue, and should be covered like any other. But excluding abortions may be the only way to make any reform politically palatable. Privatizing abortion funding could give both sides what they want.
Simmons proposes establishing a private fund to cover abortions for low-income women, at a projected cost of $311 million a year. That funding already exists in a sense—$250 million of the $1 billion given to pro-choice charities in 2007 was earmarked specifically for abortion procedures. Only a slight reallocation would be needed to "cover abortions for every poor woman in the United States."