The Stupak-Pitts amendment clamping down on abortion funding by insurers isn’t the game changer it's been made out to be: It would affect only a tiny minority of women. Though 50% of privately insured women have plans that include abortion coverage, many, perhaps most, don't use it because of privacy concerns, notes Stephanie Simon in the Wall Street Journal. Just 13% of abortions are billed to private insurance plans, according to a 2001 study.
That suggests that fewer than 160,000 women a year would be affected if insurers dropped abortion coverage. “This is very much a political issue, and a lot less about the substance of how many women will be affected,” said one pro-choice economist. With 90% of abortions taking place in the first trimester, when they cost less than $500, the biggest effect would be on late-term abortions, which often come after the fetus has been diagnosed with a disorder. These rare procedures can cost up to $5,000, and would no longer be covered, even for fatal fetal disorders.