Females: Sacrificial Lambs For Health Care

I have drawn the line in the sand.  I cannot compromise any longer.  Yes: health care reform is a moral obligation.  The responsibility for affordable and accessible health care is an imperative for all Americans.  I am willing to pay more taxes to attain it.  I will begrudgingly succumb to a 20% increase in my annual premiums to ensure all Americans get the same health rights.  I am even open to an incremental reform agenda where we start out with a so-so public option and hopefully, someday, graduate to a fully universal, single payer system.  I am ready to put my patience to the test.  I acknowledge that this might take upwards of ten or twenty years to achieve.

What I am not willing to do is sacrifice my rights, as guaranteed by the United States Constitution, in pursuit of decent and fair health care for all concerned.   I am  livid at our elected legislators and our President, who seemed to go along with the games and power contests, better known as the Stupack Amendment,  in order to get a win in their column.  To sacrifice the rights of half of the American population, i.e. females, is a blatant disregard for women’s equality, as abortion was  legalized by our Constitution decades ago.  The Stupak stipulation states that those private insurance companies that participate in government sponsored health coverage may not pay for any abortions.  Not being able to afford an abortion is tantamount to being denied the right to have that procedure.  It is one thing for government-funded programs, such as Medicaid, to refuse abortion coverage (even though that Hyde Amendment is just as  unfair as the stupid Stupak one), but quite another thing for private insurance companies to do the same.  Additionally, the last time I checked, Catholic bishops and other prelates were not elected, nor seated, members of  Congress.

I am not up on the legal minutiae of reproductive rights.  Maybe some of you can help me with answers.  For example, in our current system, it is my assumption that private insurers consider abortions to be elective surgery, similar to cosmetic surgery, and thus do not cover it.  Also, I have heard many reports that private insurers do not cover prescriptions for birth control pills.  If this is generally true, how much more do women have to cede in securing health care for all?  Why are we the bargaining chips?  What about all those men who impregnated women with unplanned, unwanted children?  Any consequences for them?  Heavens no!  What if, as a deterrent to that irresponsible behavior, we shortened the length of men’s penises by one inch every time they were the other half of the formula in unwanted pregnancies?  Or perhaps, we should penalize these reluctant fathers by reducing their testosterone levels by 20% each time they have unprotected sex.  To boot, health insurance companies would not be obligated to pay for these procedures.  After all, what’s good for the goose should damn well be good for the gander.

I do appreciate that it is still early days in the health care debate.  Many people believe that this abortion fly- in- the- ointment will not appear in the final draft of legislation.  This does not soothe me and I greatly fear that women will be the trade-off for a national health plan.  It is degrading to my female personhood, which really is just a fluke of genetics, that my legal rights are being impugned.  How dare these lawmakers take away a right guaranteed by the Constitution?  And do not tell me that the right to abortion is separate than medical coverage for that right.  We all know the two cannot be separated.  As do the kingmakers in Congress and the religious right wingers and those Democrats who will sell half of our population down the river for a political victory.

This Stupak amendment is poison.  If ultimately passed, it would set a precedent of using discriminatory, anti-privacy laws against those who are entitled to such liberties.  Whether just a temporary bargaining chip or a proposal that will be incorporated into the final measure, it is a great injustice to women.  If I must fight even the members of my own party and a President whom I adore in order to make a stand for my individual rights, I will.  The line has been drawn and even the greater good is no excuse for taking away my freedom.  The very idea itself  is shocking.

If the Democrats and President Obama allow this article into the final bill, I do believe I have voted for the very last time.  Not a great loss in the actual scope of things, but definitely a sad, sad commentary on the morally and legally vacuous path our leaders are willing to make in their quest of palace envy.  While they are perfectly willing to trade away my rights for their policymaking, I do not see them swapping their own rights.  And this is one American citizen who will fight tooth and nail to not be used as a pawn in their game.

POSTSCRIPT:

Please go to my diary on the DailyKOS for some illuminating comments.  These readers have posted even more information that underscores the danger of the Stupak Amendment.  For example, while the Hyde Amendment must be renewed annually, the Stupak Amendment, if included in the health reform bill and if that bill is passed into law, is forever.  And babydoll, forever is a long, long time.  Here’s the link:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/11/10/803027/-Females:-Sacrificial-Lambs-For-Health-Care

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