THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE STUPAK AMENDMENT…. To hear Rep. Burt Stapak (D-Mich.) and his allies tell it, his amendment on public funding of abortion is simply a continuation of the status quo. The measure, as they see it, is the equivalent of adding the Hyde Amendment, which has been on the books for more than three decades, to the health care reform bill.

Proponents of abortion rights have spent two weeks arguing otherwise. A new policy analysis bolsters their argument. Brian Beutler reports:

A new study by the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services adds some expert imprimatur to what many progressives have been saying all along: The Stupak amendment to the House health care bill–which will prevent millions of women from buying health insurance policies that cover abortion–is likely to have consequences that reach far beyond its supposedly intended scope.

The report concludes that “the treatment exclusions required under the Stupak/Pitts Amendment will have an industry-wide effect, eliminating coverage of medically indicated abortions over time for all women, not only those whose coverage is derived through a health insurance exchange.”

In other words, though the immediate impact of the Stupak amendment will be limited to the millions of women initially insured through a new insurance exchange, over time, as the exchanges grow, the insurance industry will scale down their abortion coverage options until they offer none at all.

Citing the findings, Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, said, “What the findings show are that women who want to purchase policies with their own money — with their own premiums — will not be able to buy insurance policies…. That’s frankly the intention of the anti-choice movement now.”

DeGette added that she’s spoken directly to some of the Dems who voted for the Stupak measure two weeks ago, but who did not fully appreciate what the amendment was all about.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.