On Saturday night the House of Representatives narrowly passed a health-care reform bill, changing the way Americans will access health insurance.
Included in the bill was an amendment from Bart Stupak (D-MI), which "prohibits federal funds for abortion services in the public option." Women seeking insurance coverage for abortions must seek a plan outside the enrolled companies. Sixty-Four Democrats
voted to include the amendment.
While the bill is heralded as the biggest step in health care reform since the New Deal, the Stupak amendment serves as a monumental setback for reproductive justice.
Read on for thoughts from other bloggers, but please share your thoughts on the bill, the amendment, and the future of health care below.
Representative Barbara Lee from California's 9th District:
I remember the days of back alley abortions and this amendment takes us one step back to those dark days. This amendment goes way beyond the Hyde Amendment that denies federal funds for abortion and attempts to dictate to women how to spend their own money. It's simply outrageous.
From Amanda Marcotte:
This amendment will do nothing to reduce the abortion rate, but it will increase the suffering of women seeking abortion. The real goal is and always will be punishing sexual women, at least scapegoating the ones who have the misfortune to have unintended pregnancies.
From Shark Fu:
The health care reform bill vote brought those in power closer to denying those in need the secure, affordable care that is our right. It was also a demonstration of how real progressive change is never made on the backs of the oppressed.
Even after last year's election, many politicians still think that the old formula of saying one thing to women's faces then doing a different thing when it comes time to vote…after we work our asses off to get them elected so that they could TAKE A MOTHERFUCKING STAND when it counted…would be enough to keep everyone happy.
Now, they're about to learn a lesson…because women intend to make it crystal clear: the old rules have changed -- and we will not be ignored.
From Frances Kissling:
If nothing else happens as a result of this defeat, complete and total dedication to overturning Hyde must be the centerpiece, indeed the single objective of our movement. It is not clear if the effect of the Stupak Amendment will be that the door will close on ever restoring federal funds for abortion, but every effort to make sure that does not happen must be made. We must convince enough people that the only immorality is using poor women as a way of expressing one's moral outrage. Either we all have the right to choose or none of us has it.
President Obama has always supported overturning Hyde and we now need to insist that having achieved his political objective with strong support from the women's movement, he must take up the true moral cause – giving women with no or low resources the same right of conscience as those with sufficient money to pay for their own abortions have always had.
From Nancy Keenan, NARAL President:
This vote is a reminder to America's pro-choice majority that, despite our gains in the last two election cycles, anti-choice members of Congress still outnumber our pro-choice allies. It is unconscionable that anti-choice lawmakers would use health reform to attack women's health and privacy, but that's exactly what happened on the House floor tonight. Even though the bill already included a ban on federal funding for abortion and a requirement that only women's personal funds could pay for abortion care, Reps. Stupak and Pitts took their obsession with attacking a woman's right to choose to a whole new level. We will hold those lawmakers who sided with the extreme Stupak-Pitts amendment accountable for abandoning women and capitulating to the most extreme fringe of the anti-choice movement. In short, the fight is not over. That's why we will continue to mobilize our activists and work with our allies in Congress to remove this dangerous provision from the health-care bill and stop additional attacks as the process moves to the Senate.
From Women & Politics:
The Stupak amendment passed 240-194. How many women voted for it? 19. (2 Dems, all Repubicans). Allow me to do a little math: Out of 435 members, we currently have only 73 women in the House. We should have 217.5. (OK, round that up to 218 I suppose). So, that means we need 145 more women to make it equal.
What do you suppose would happen with the anti-choice, anti-woman Stupak amendment if we had gender equality in Congress for this vote? I dare to say that not only would it be defeated—it wouldn't have even a whisper of a wish of passing. (That is, if it was even introduced at all).