get pissed

November 18, 2009

you know, most days i find politics just too depressing, and the power structure too entrenched, to really bother engaging with. i mean, i follow politics, but i don’t do much, you know? but everything about the healthcare reform effort, all summer long and into the fall (and now into the winter) has been so fucked up and ass-backwards, and it just gets worse and worse. the stupak amendment was really the breaking point for me, and so today i finally got pissed enough to email my senator (see below). will it help? probably not. but aside from torches & pitchforks in the streets, i don’t know what will.

Dear Senator Boxer,

I’ve long believed in health care reform, and I’m happy to see that progress on that front is finally being made. However, I’m quite distressed at the inclusion of the so-called Stupak Amendment in the House version of the bill.

In the past few months of hearings and reports, it’s become increasingly clear that women are at a disadvantage in the health care market, and I would hope that any national health care reform legislation would take this into account and include provisions that would encourage gender equality in health care. However, instead we get the Stupak Amendment, which seriously limits access to abortion.

If, as Bart Stupak argued on *Hardball* last night, this amendment is the same as the Hyde Amendment, then why do we need it? It is in fact not the same, it’s far more restricting. And if, as some on the left have said, this amendment is the price we have to pay to push through health reform, then I think it’s time for the Democrats to stop and re-evaluate. How much are we on the left willing to sacrifice to push this bill through? Where is the line? Last week, Ed Rendell said in an interview that it was “stupid” to get all up in arms over one “peripheral” issue. It is not stupid for women to be upset when we see our elected leaders selling us down the river, selling us out on an issue that is not “peripheral,” but is in fact deeply important to many of us and has been for decades.

Furthermore, according to an article in *The Nation* (http://www.thenation.com/doc/20091116/lerner), the current version of the bill does not require insurers to cover basic gynecological care like regular pelvic exams and birth control.

As a woman I resent the continued implications throughout this debate that women’s issues don’t matter. These issues don’t just affect women, and the continuing ghettoization and dismissal of women’s issues only points to the gender inequality that still exists in our society.

When the healthcare bill comes before the Senate, I would encourage you to do all you can to include better provisions for women’s health care, and to remove the Stupak Amendment from it. In fact, I think the Stupak Amendment is one of those issues that should be a dealbreaker: there’s compromise that leads you to accept what you can get rather than getting nothing, and then there is compromise that is really failure. Please don’t sell women out; we deserve better than that.

Thank you for your time. 


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