Doctors oppose abortion cuts in health bill

The San Francisco Medical Society has come out in opposition to removal of abortion coverage in the health reform bill, pointing out the potential danger to women’s lives if they are denied access to such care. Charles Wibbelsman, MD, President of SFMS, writes in today’s San Francisco Chronicle that the board of directors will urge congressional representatives to find a compromise.

It is a shame that such a complex issue as health care reform has been hijacked in the form of the Stupak amendment, which would ban all public funding for abortion (“Amendment to House bill reignites abortion debate,” Nov. 10).

Experience has shown that denying coverage of abortion does not stop or even curtail it, but rather shifts the costs elsewhere, and threatens to delay a woman in seeking and obtaining this medical procedure, thus potentially endangering her.

The San Francisco Medical Society’s board of directors has voted to urge our elected officials, particularly Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, to find a compromise that will not ban such funding and keep women with unwanted pregnancies safe.

Women’s lives should not be held hostage to politics.

At last, a ray of sanity from the medical community. I, for one, am proud of SFMS for standing up for the uncounted thousands of women, most of them poor and disadvantaged, who will suffer harm from denial of access to care should the conservatives and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops win the day on this matter.

via Stupak amendment hijacks health care reform.


  1. It seems to me that it would be unconstitutional to deny a legal procedure to woman based on the ability to pay. That is the purpose of insurance…if health care with a ban on abortion passes the lawyers will be falling over each other to file suit and we the people will be paying the legal fees.

    1. Thanks, libtree. What anti-abortion people want is ultimately to make it illegal, and as I’ve said before I am old enough to know what that was like. Sadly, if the bill passes without abortion coverage I feel most of those who will suffer will not be equipped to fight in the courts.

  2. Fran, I’m glad you brought this article up. Abortion is one of those topics that I have no idea how to feel about. I know it is a woman’s right to choose and sometimes considering what might be the child’s possible future it might sometimes be a better option (I mean possible medical issues and possibly having a negative environment for the child to grow up in). But what conflicts me is that a person cannot really be pro-abortion, I am not religious but there is always that question of what is right? On the other hand, I remind myself that abortion might be unavoidable. Even if you remove the legality of abortion, people will still have them…

    I feel somewhat neutral towards it and try to avoid the general topic, but I feel that other people feel this kind of uncertainty towards the subject. I think that is why the debate cannot come to any universal agreement.

    Just my opinion…

    1. Oh, Utzie, I think your struggles with the issue are wonderful, and appreciate your sharing them. No, I don’t think one need be “pro-abortion;” I AM religious, and not pro-abortion. But I am strongly pro-woman’s-right-to-choose, and pro every woman’s right to control her own body. I also know first-hand what back-alley abortion is like. It is this fate that will befall many, many women, especially poor and disadvantaged, if they have an unwanted pregnancy and are denied access to safe abortion.

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