Over at the Washington Independent, Mike Lillis realizes that a hell of a rider was attached to an Indian health care bill by paragon of virtue David Vitter (R-Bordello).
The controversy swirls around a federal law—known as the Hyde amendment—that prohibits abortion coverage under Medicaid, Medicare and Indian Health Service programs. While the Hyde law must be renewed by Congress each year, the Vitter amendment—which the Senate approved on Feb. 26—would apply Hyde's restrictions permanently to IHS beneficiaries. For that reason, tribal health advocates charge that the Vitter language treads on the sovereignty of Indian communities and places unique constraints on native women.
"It's a very racist amendment," said Charon Asetoyer, executive director of the Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center, "[because] it puts another layer of restrictions on the only race of people whose health care is governed primarily by the federal government. All women are subject to the Hyde amendment, so why would they put another set of conditions on us?"
Under fire, Vitter has suggested a compromise: The Senate will supply with-child American Indians with complimentary blankets.
In 2007 Radley Balko suggested tossing the abortion issue back to the states.