Sunday, November 8, 2009

Health Care reform must not come at the expense of chipping away at abortion rights

I had come to terms with the fact that health care reform would not be all I wanted. I assumed that like previous major social reforms it would represent a step forward and the inadequacies would be remedied over time.

But unlike Social Security and Medicare, this legislation takes a step backward by mandating that plans included in the insurance exchange, including the public option, will not cover abortion. Some women who currently have abortion coverage would lose the right to it.

Major social reform has always been piecemeal. In order to get the votes to pass social security, FDR made a devil’s bargain with Southern Democrats to exclude domestic workers and share croppers, effectively excluding the majority of African-Americans. In many ways the New Deal was racist, but it established the principle that the elderly were entitled to financial support. In the 1950’s the laws were amended to ensure that the principle applied to all workers. (Those who had been excluded from social security or their descendants should have been compensated.)

Medicare was similarly a work in progress, with prescription drug coverage not included. Medicare established the principle that the elderly were entitled to health care, but it took forty years for prescription drug coverage to be included, and even then, the prescription drug coverage passed during the Bush administration was deeply flawed. The proposed health care reform should improve it somewhat.

I had expected similar gaps and inadequacies in the current legislation, but I didn’t expect an erosion of hard-fought rights.

Tomorrow I will be contacting my Senators. We’ve got to keep this erosion of abortion rights out of the Senate bill!


  1. My response to the fundraising letter the Dems had the nerve to send today:

    How dare you? How dare you email a woman in this country and announce a victory after what you pulled last night? HOW DARE YOU ASK FOR MONEY! Do you want to know what really happened? 64 Democrats lost their jobs. That's what happened. Women are not bargaining chips. Our rights, our health, our lives are not negotiable. Last night, you threw poor women under the bus. You mortally insulted the millions of women like me who worked tirelessly for your election, donated to you, believed you and the other Democrats who said they were pro-choice. We will not tolerate this. We are, to put it bluntly, not your bitches. This lame health 'reform' is not a victory. It is a kick in the head to every woman in this country who thought she had won the right to control her own body and receive appropriate healthcare. My money will be spent electing representatives who will work for me. We will NOT go back!

    Let's organize!

  2. I too am disapppointed about the abortion part of this bill, but do believe that change begins in stages, it is better right now that we have health care for all people. We will have to work to change this part

  3. I'm in agreement with the writer and with
    bwcuorato's comment. This is a work in progress.