Allowing a health care bill to pass the House of Representatives that included provisions that restrict the rights of women to make their own private decisions about whether or not to have children is outrages. In an effort to play the politics necessary to get the bill passed Speaker Pelosi, blue dog Democrats such as Bart Stupak, and the lobbying efforts of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a message to women that their constitutional rights are negotiable.
The now infamous Stupak Amendment, which essentially states that no money or federal subsidies can go toward covering abortions in the health care bill, appears to go a bit further than the Hyde amendment which already bans federal funds for abortion. In the health care bill citizens who choose it will be using their own money to pay for premiums under the insurance exchange program. Not tax payer dollars. The language of the amendment appears to ban what is currently legal because most insurance companies will likely be a part of the insurance exchange and would no longer be able to offer coverage for a procedure they already cover. Insurance companies who want to be a part of the exchange and the pool of new customers have no need to offer such coverage. Women will be forced to pay for supplemental plans that cover a constitutionally protected medical procedure. This does not hurt the soccer mom, the well off upper middle class family that can afford a little extra coverage. This amendment hurts middle class, working class, and working poor women. The assault on the privacy rights of women are encroached through a means in which the proponents contend is benign.
The Stupak Amendment and the climate in which it was passed suggest that the House leadership are willing to negotiate away the privacy rights of women. Its suggests that they are willing to negotiate away the rights of people. Women now, who’s next. There are many members who would be happy to negotiate the rights of many other people, women, immigrants, minorities, workers, etc. With this bill the House leadership have opened the door and told them that they are a willing negotiator. It’s disheartening to the millions of Americans that worked hard to restore democrats to power in 2006 and 2008.
The Democratic party is still behaving like a weak party out of power bowing down to the right of the party on an issue as essential as choice. The Donkey chained down although the chain has been removed and really needs to just kick some ass. Pelosi should have told these blue dogs especially those who she and Rahm Emanuel picked out of obscurity that they are going to vote for the health care bill without abortion restrictions or they are going to be running in a democratic primary with DCCC money going to their opponent.
How can it be that in 2009 in the United States the privacy rights of women are still negotiable and can be amended through the legislative process? Certainly not the equivalent but how about an amendment banning federal dollars for vasectomies, for Viagra, male patterned baldness, or banning federal dollars for injuries related to male masturbation.