I want to be happy that the
House passed its version of Health Care Reform. Really. I believe so
strongly about making health care a right not a privilege.
But the House version included a last minute amendment — the Pitt-Stupak
amendment — which if included in the final law, will basically mean
that any insurance company who wants to be part of the federal program
will not be able to include abortion as a covered service. If passed,
it’s the greatest restriction on women’s access to abortion since the
Hyde Amendment passed more than two decades ago.
I feel betrayed. Betrayed by the 64 Democrats who voted for it. Betrayed by Nancy Pelosi
who let it be brought to the floor. Betrayed by those in the pro-choice
community who asked too early for us to get behind the Capps
amendment which would have continued to deny women who needed abortion
coverage in the public option but was ‘abortion neutral’. We gave up
too much ground too soon. And angry that our pro-choice President was
willing to go along with trading the rights of women to get anti-choice
legislators to go along with it, despite the fact that not a single
Republican actually voted yes on health care reform.
I can’t say
that I’m surprised. I’ve been writing for more than the past two years
about my concern about religious leaders who call themselves
progressive but don’t support LGBT rights or the rights of women to
make their own decisions about their pregnancies. I’ve continually
called for sexual justice to be an integral part of a progressive
religious agenda. I’ve been asked far too many times to stop raising
these issues, to recognize that they are divisive to a common ground
agenda, that reaching out to Catholics and evangelical leaders is more
important than working for justice to LGBT persons and women. I can’t
count how many times I’ve written here — and in other articles — that
women’s and LGBT’s lives shouldn’t be traded for political gains.
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of those so-called progressive folks helped deliver health care reform
in the House — but they did it at the expense of hundreds of thousands
of women who will now have even a more difficult time accessing safe
abortion services. Removing abortion from covered insurance plans won’t
keep women from having abortions — it will just mean that they happen
later in pregnancies as women struggle to find the money to pay for
them — or they will resort once again to unsafe procedures.
bottom line: women’s lives got buried under common ground on Saturday
night. And to those who said the religious right was dead, I wish it
felt better to say, "I told you so."