15 April 2010
Statement to War Tax Resisters:
I am so sorry that I cannot be here in person to accept this generous contribution on behalf of the Network for Reproductive Options. This donation is more meaningful this year than you can imagine. As I watched the debate over health care reform, particularly the way that abortion was used as a political tool to attempt to derail reform, I was increasingly incensed by the insistence of anti-abortion politicians that abortion should not be paid for with tax-payer money.
There is no other issue or item that is singled out the way abortion and birth control are singled out to allow tax payers a say in how their tax money is spent. Those of us who are opposed to nuclear weapons, nuclear energy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the funding for schools for torture like the School of the Americas – we are not given options to withhold our taxes from these things. In fact, if you are opposed, for reasons of conscience or morality, to paying for bombs, wars, abstinence-until-marriage sex education, or any other of the multitudes of things that the federal government pays for, your only recourse is illegal: to withhold your taxes for as long as you can as these brave and honorable people do. Unless what you are opposed to is the right of women to control their own bodies and determine the course of their own lives.
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Federal spending on abortion has been restricted for more than 30 years because of the Hyde Amendment. It is not just low-income women who qualify for public assistance who can’t get their abortions covered. Women who work for the federal government, women in the military or who are married to men in the military, Native American women who use the Indian Health Service: all of these women must pay for abortion out of their own pockets.
By restricting federal dollars in the new health care exchanges, many women with private insurance are likely to lose their abortion coverage now. This donation has never been so meaningful, or so needed. Last year, NRO gave more than $55,000 to Oregon women to help pay for an abortion appointment. This year, it is proving even more challenging to keep up with the need. It means more to me than you can know to have this ‘tax’ money to help women pay for abortions. On behalf of our board, our hotline volunteers and all the women we serve, thank you. In the words of one woman who called our hotline last week: “thank you, thank you, I just can’t thank you enough.”