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Dionne: What's the matter with motherhood?

If you're a conservative strongly opposed to abortion, shouldn't you want to give all the help you can to women who want to bring their children into the world? In particular, wouldn't you hope they'd get the proper medical attention during and after their pregnancy?

This would seem a safe assumption, which is why it ought to be astonishing that conservatives are positively obsessed with trashing the Affordable Care Act's regulation requiring insurance policies to include maternity coverage.

Never mind that all of us lucky enough to have health insurance end up paying to cover conditions we may never suffer from ourselves. We all want to avoid cancer but don't begrudge those who do get it when the premiums we pay into our shared insurance pools help them receive care.

Yet critics of Obamacare apparently think there is something particularly odious when a person who might not have a baby pays premiums to assist someone who does. It's true that men cannot have babies, although it is worth mentioning that they do play a rather important role in their creation. In any event, it is hardly very radical to argue that society is better off when kids are born healthy to healthy moms.

Yet the conservatives' ire over this issue knows no bounds.

"And <i>so what</i> if a health policy lacks maternity care?" wrote Deroy Murdoch on National Review's website, the italics on that impatient "so what" being his. "Not all women want to bear more children — or any children at all. ... And how about lesbians who do not want kids, and are highly unlikely to become pregnant accidentally?"

It's touching, actually, to see such concern for lesbians in a conservative publication. Behold the miracles Obamacare already has called forth.

On "Fox News Sunday" earlier this month, host Chris Wallace was very worked up as he pressed Zeke Emanuel, a former health care adviser to President Barack Obama, over how unfair it is that a single woman with a 24-year-old son would be forced to pay for such coverage. "She's not going to have any more children," Wallace said with great certainty. "She's not going to need maternity services."

Writing on the FreedomWorks website, Julie Borowski declared, unhappily: "Maternity coverage will be mandatory — even for men. ... Adding coverage for things that some people do not want will only increase insurance costs for <i>everyone</i>."

Well, not exactly. But you get the drift. Who knew that supporting motherhood was suddenly controversial?


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