RNC insurance plan covers abortion for their employees

For those of you who haven’t already heard, let me repeat that: the Republican National Committee (RNC) has a health insurance plan for their employees that covers abortion. Now, this shouldn’t even be surprising, despite my out-loud laugh half in amazement, half fury when I found out arriving home last night. Because as Amie and Cecile Richards say – of course their plan covers abortion! It’s a standard health benefit plan any employer would want to offer their employees, yes?
But as Politico points out, for a committee whose platform that says abortion is “a fundamental assault on innocent human life,” and its members just voted for the Stupak-Pitts Amendment attacking the very existence of abortion coverage in health insurance plans (along with enough anti-choice and cowardly Dems) in the recently House passed health care bill, this is pretty incredible to hear.
Of course, the RNC is scrambling to cover for this apparent mistake, saying the policy had been in effect since 1991 (so were you pro-choice then?) and is assuring folks that their insurance plan is going to immediately be changed. Says a late release from the RNC late last night:

News reports have revealed that the RNC’s health plan dating back as far as 1991 may have included some coverage for elective abortion. Upon learning of this, Chairman Michael Steele instructed the RNC Director of Administration to opt the RNC out of any coverage for elective abortion services in its health insurance policy.
“Money from our loyal donors should not be used for this purpose. I don’t know why this policy existed in the past, but it will not exist under my administration. Consider this issue settled.” – RNC Chairman Michael Steele

It’s not so much that the RNC are hypocrites that gets me – we’ve known that too well and for too long - but that their female employees are now having the right to reproductive health care stripped from their plan. It’s like they’re the first to be sacrificed in the midst of this assault.

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20 Comments

  1. bondwooley.wordpress.com
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Poor Michael Steele is backtracking and scrambling again.
    Good thing he’s got a crackerjack coach:
    http://bit.ly/3ppyiu
    (satire)

  2. DeafBrownTrash
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I knew someone who worked at an abortion clinic and she told me stories about anti-choicers who would hold protests against the abortion center, verbally assaulting scared females who were being escorted inside… later on, she recognized some of the anti-choice females who came in to get a secret abortion! They were always smug about it, too and demanded total secrecy.
    I can’t stand hypocrites.

  3. micheyd
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Of course they are hypocrites. Time for a repost of this: http://mypage.direct.ca/w/writer/anti-tales.html

  4. Athenia
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Next thing you know, people will be protesting in front of insurance companies who cover abortions instead of clinics.
    Also, maybe they should separate out the pro-choice republican donors so they can keep that coverage.

  5. Gular
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    It’s like they’re the first to be sacrificed in the midst of this assault.
    I have to say, I don’t really agree with this because they’re working for an ethical organization opposed to abortion. I wouldn’t say they’re being sacrificed. If they believed strongly in abortion rights, they wouldn’t be working for the party seeking to end those rights.
    I sympathize with people who work in unfavorable environments because “it’s a job”, but working for the RNC I don’t think qualifies as that.
    The RNC does need to live its example. While I don’t support stripping coverage to anyone, I don’t really see the women of the RNC’s staff being victims in this — aside from being victims of their own hands.

  6. alixana
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    I don’t know…while part of me wants to agree with you, I kind of feel like I did when defending Sarah Palin against sexist attacks – no matter what she did and believed, she did not deserve the sexist attacks because she is a woman.
    I can’t feel good about the idea of limiting a woman’s reproductive rights even if she’s campaigning against them. Because those rights are there for women. Period. I can’t sit there and condemn her to being forced to carry a child simply because she’s a hypocrite. That just feels skeevy to me.

  7. Teresa
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Personally, if the plan has had the abortion coverage since ’91, I bet they won’t even take it off the table. I highly doubt that it was a shock to Michael Steele, he probably knew about it (or maybe he didn’t, because why would he need an abortion?). Regardless, I won’t believe it until I see that the coverage has been changed, because that is exactly how hypocritical those damned Republicans are. When they’re called out on their hypocrisy they get all up in arms about how they didn’t know and they’re going to change it, but they won’t…because they did know.

  8. Teresa
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Personally, if the plan has had the abortion coverage since ’91, I bet they won’t even take it off the table. I highly doubt that it was a shock to Michael Steele, he probably knew about it (or maybe he didn’t, because why would he need an abortion?). Regardless, I won’t believe it until I see that the coverage has been changed, because that is exactly how hypocritical those damned Republicans are. When they’re called out on their hypocrisy they get all up in arms about how they didn’t know and they’re going to change it, but they won’t…because they did know.

  9. alixana
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    “Her” being any RNC employee who might need this insurance coverage. I got a little vague with my pronouns.

  10. DeafBrownTrash
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I disagree with you. Some Republicans happen to be pro-choice but they are Republican for libertarian/economic reasons– nothing to do with morals or religion.

  11. Gular
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Even with that in mind though, the RNC in its current incarnation runs more on ethical issues than economic ones. To work for the organization you’d have to support the entire party’s platform.
    Am I happy that their access has been severely limited? Not at all. Every woman has the Right to access to termination services. Changing the policy is an affront to those Rights and my own beliefs think it’s an affront to those women who work for the organization.
    I do, however, feel like the RNC made the right call in making this move because it streamlines their political platform into their company policies. While it sucks for these women, it was a legitimate oversight on the part of the RNC to allow these services to be covered — as Steele says, by the donors — when the people they are speaking for are opposed to that exact coverage.
    It’s like an animal rights organization stocking their cafeteria with aggro-business beef. It’s against the ethical stance of the organization and to allow it is an oversight. It did need to be corrected.

  12. Gular
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I do understand that, and maybe I’m being too much in the business mind than I’d like to admit with this. I can’t paint these women as victims. If you work for an organization with specific ethical positions, you have to accept that those positions may have their consequences.
    Whatever your reason for supporting the Party, they are opposed to abortion. If your insurance, through said Party, covers that service, it’s an oversight that needs to be corrected, no matter how longstanding.
    I think with Palin, though, it’s a little different. She was the victim of sexist attack through no fault of her own. The forces that be took out the claws and were sexist towards her. The RNC did not support those sexist actions through its stated purpose (the Platform). I think the analogy falls a little flat, I think.

  13. rissa523
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    I’m curious to know how many abortions were paid for through the private insurance plan. That data could be released without violating anyone’s HIPPA, I don’t want to know who had an abortion, just how many were performed and paid for under RNC insurance. If they haven’t paid for a single abortion then I wouldn’t feel bad at all about the RNC doing away with the coverage, if even one abortion has been covered by their plan, then they are denying access to a needed service. Is it possible that not a single RNC female has utilized their coverage for an abortion? I’d bet these women would pay cash just to avoid an record of an abortion if they were to have one. This whole abortion argument doesn’t make sense to me. You don’t want an abortion then don’t fucking have one, why should anyone else give a flying fuck what I do with my body in my own time with my own money or insurance? Whatever happened the Republican ideal of the Govt needs to stay out of people’s business?

  14. Sandi
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    If you work for an organization with specific ethical positions, you have to accept that those positions may have their consequences.
    What if you are the spouse or dependent of someone who works for such an organization and get your insurance through them?

  15. Gular
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    You would have to accept the consequences of having a spouse with those leanings if you chose to take the health insurance of that organization. Spouses are not obligated to take that insurance and are under option to get their own.
    It may come at more cost, but it is still an option. If the spouse, in this case, feels the need to have abortion services covered, they can pursue their own insurance options and the other spouse can take their insurance in a policy as well.

  16. Gular
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    I realize I sound pretty heartless in all of this. I do want to say I am opposed to lack of coverage in any form of health care, but I feel that the RNC did need to make a streamline between its health care options and its Party Platform.
    I can’t say I feel these people are victims of that, as they actively support the organization through working for it (the RNC is no different than any other kind of lobbying/political organization in that regard). The spouses may be a victim of circumstance, but they should know the political philosophy of the Party for which hir spouse works. If they don’t, then there’s more going on than a health insurance issue.

  17. Gular
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    A dependent does become a victim. I didn’t see that in my first read through, so I apologize for not addressing it.
    So long as someone has the agency and ability to get this coverage of their own volition (an RNC worker can get private insurance as an individual), I can’t paint victimhood due to the ethical leanings of the organization.

  18. DeafBrownTrash
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    “Even with that in mind though, the RNC in its current incarnation runs more on ethical issues than economic ones. To work for the organization you’d have to support the entire party’s platform.”
    yeah, that’s true.

  19. Gular
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for your cordiality (cordialness?) with this. It’s pretty contentious since this is directly a women’s rights issue about which we all feel very strongly (obviously pro-coverage).
    It pains me to say “the RNC did the right thing”, but it’s true… even if it’s against everything I believe personally.

  20. liz
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    That’s a good point. With how important shaming (ala Oklahoma) is to people who wrap themselves in this ideology, it seems like a list of transgressive employees would be in order. There’s something I hate about that statement, but there is also something wrong with this attitude that everyone else has to be moral except for the people who define themselves as such. They make me feel lost and crazy with their logic and actions and how discordant they are.

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