Why Health Reform Must Protect Private Insurance Coverage of Abortion Care: A Mother Speaks Out

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Jodi Jacobson at RH Reality Check, where this post first appeared.

Tuesday, Planned Parenthood Federation of America released a video featuring Tiffany Campbell, a mother of three from South Dakota, who tells the story of her personal experience with a complicated pregnancy and abortion, an experience that was both emotionally and financially challenging for Tiffany and her family. (You can read Tiffany’s first person account of her story published last year on RH Reality Check.)

In 2006, Campbell was pregnant with twins when her doctor told her she had a serious complication called twin-to-twin syndrome. Her doctor advised her that the only real hope to save one of the twins was to have a selective abortion. Tiffany and her family agonized over the decision, and ultimately chose to do what was necessary to save one of the twins. Today, that baby is a healthy three-year-old boy.

Fortunately, Campbell had health insurance. But even her insurance did not fully cover the complicated procedure, and the family was left with thousands of dollars of debt.

As congressional leaders and the White House push for a final vote on health care reform, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) continues to threaten to bring down the entire bill unless the Stupak abortion coverage ban is adopted. Analysts have concluded that both the Stupak abortion coverage ban in the House bill and the Nelson abortion provision in the Senate bill would lead to the elimination of private health insurance coverage for abortion.

“Under the Stupak Amendment,” says Campbell, “my son would have died and I would have buried two babies instead of one.”

“Tiffany Campbell’s story is a wake-up call to all women who might one day face a complicated pregnancy,” said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “If Congress restricts private health insurance coverage for abortion, women with complicated pregnancies making the most difficult personal and medical decision of their lives would likely face costly medical bills they cannot pay. Every member of Congress should listen to Tiffany tell her story, before they vote to restrict private health insurance coverage for abortion.”

photo credit: thanks to ProgressOhio via flickr
By Jodi Jacobson, Editor, RH Reality Check


Deborah L.
Deborah L6 years ago

Back before the days of Roe-v-Wade when I was about 13, we were at a relatives home for a cook out. They had invited a married couple they knew and when all the women were together they talked. The woman guest told of her abortion. Back then if you were a woman the government owned your uterus, not you. She had a complicated pregnancy and her doctors told her that if she carried the baby to term they would both die. This woman had one child already. In order for her to have this surgical procedure, the governor of the state had to sign the paperwork to allow it. If he decided not to sign the paperwork, the pregnancy would not be terminated. Her comment to us was, "he doesn't even know me or my family situation, what would have happened if he decided not to sign the paperwork? Would she be left to die?

Do you really want to return to a time when women were nothing but walking wombs? Whose body does your reproductive system reside in? Your own body or in that of the male of the species or total strangers like political figures elected to govern your state or religious figures, often not your brand of religion, who decide that your reproductive system belongs to them and their views of what they demand you do regardless how it affects you medically?

Women, we all need to stand up and demand control of your reproductive rights, after all it belongs to you and you alone. It should be your decision not some self serving stranger.

Heather A.
Heather A6 years ago

Really Johan? Are you seriously trying to educate women on their own reproductive systems? Could you be any more condescending? And why only address women in your little newsflash? For your information, men are just as responsible for the decision to have sex as women, and they share 50% of the blame for what happens. Your comment has to be the most sexist thing I have heard all week!
And I'll have you know that most women use protection. Protection, however, fails. Couples using condoms faithfully as the only method of protection have a 10% chance of getting pregnant over the course of a year. Many couples use this method because birth control pills are pretty hard for some people to get (people whose insurance doesn't cover birth control, for instance...) That's a lot of unplanned pregnancies.

Heather A.
Heather A6 years ago

Mary F. - The scientific consensus is that foetuses can feel pain starting at 28-30 weeks. The conclusion that they can feel pain as early as 10-12 weeks is based on bad science.

Catrina Velez
Catrina Velez6 years ago

I am pro-choice because I do not believe that the teachings of any one religion against abortion should be forced upon everybody else in society. I also do not believe that if a woman gets pregnant by accident and is unable to raise an infant, that she should be punished for this by being forced to give birth. Under such circumstances, unwelcomed motherhood makes for a very poor mother, and there are so many terible cases of child neglect and abuse these days; unwed mothers leaving infants with incompetent or abusive babysitters, or struggling to live in poverty getting food stamps and trying to raise the kid in a slum. And where are the men who caused these pregnancies? Often, they are kids too, and cannot even support themselves. So who should pick up the tab? Maybe the pro-lifers who laid a guilt trip on these girls should be assessed child support payments by the Court. They'd shut up as fast as box turtles if it was THEIR wages getting garnisheed.

Elodia Resendez
Elodia Resendez6 years ago

No one should have to end up in debt over health or medically related events. Women and men have to make these kinds of decisions all the time, everywhere in this country. Where are the rest of us when they need help? Dealing with our own lives to be sure but we can all at least put something into the pot so that families can recover without the added financial stress. There but for the grace of God go I. Godspeed to all of them.

johan l.
paul l6 years ago

Ladies, remember that it only needs one unprotected sex session, to fall pregnant!
Think it through, if you are able!
As far as this Bart Stupak is concerned, can he really assert so much influence that he may be able to have the bill sunk?

Mervi R.
Mervi R6 years ago

Safe abortion needs to be always available for those that need it, no exceptions!

Craig Chmiel
Craig C6 years ago

Just a side note how many new depts are there going to be in this bill?? That will like having to go to dmv 10x fold to be approved for something to be done to you. Only to find out they are not willing to pay for this or that, do you really trust them that far? This is all about power and control i think, but that's just me.

Craig Chmiel
Craig C6 years ago

What i don't understand is how you's can protest on abortion when in fact this will give the goverbment full power of your total body. This may not happen right now but over time you can rest assured it will. Don't tell me what i can do to my body is all i hear, if this passes your whole body is at risk, but not if you think they will fix your problems. Tell me just one time they have fixed anything??? I mean for our good!

Janice C.
Janice C6 years ago

I have great empathy with this woman, and I voted "leaning yes". When a grave medical situation is in play, abortion COULD be the only way. However, for those who find themselves pregnant (gee wonder how that happened) because they didn't use contraceptives, abortion isn't the answer. Where are the dead beat dads? Unfortunately the women are in charge of whether they get pregnant or not. It is their choice. Just as it is my choice to NOT fund indiscriminate abortions because "gee, we only had unprotected sex once". Not my fault, and not my choice to have to fund the abortion - which by the way, the real name is murder. At some time or the other, women must take responsibility for their actions. If they choose to "put out" to anyone other than their husband, it is their choice. Don't come crying to me because they are pregnant and daddy doesn't care.