Thursday, December 3, 2009
I’m glad I got it together to go to DC for the National Lobby Day to Stop Stupak and Pass Health Care Reform.
A diverse group of women from all over the country gathered in DC; the really good news is that the majority were young women in their 20’s and 30’s. I think many women in my generation breathed a sigh of relief when we saw all these young women determined to protect reproductive rights.
Lobby days can be tedious as you go to one office after another, usually meeting with staff rather than with elected officials. (Thanks to Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, one of the few elected officials who met with constituents.)
The lobbying may have been tedious, but the rally was inspirational. Leaders of major feminist organizations and women legislators with long careers fighting for gender equality affirmed their determination to stop this assault on women’s rights.
Many emphasized that that here has been a compromise in place for decades that federal funds can not be used for abortion but that women can purchase insurance coverage which includes abortion with private funds—-i.e.with their own money. The Stupak-Pitts amendment would overturn this compromise and dramatically change the status quo.
No other legal medical procedure has been singled out to be excluded from plans on the proposed newly created insurance exchange—just this procedure which applies only to women.
A common theme from the women legislators who have been fighting for real health care reform is “We are going to win this one. We are not going to pass health care reform which restricts access, which takes away a right which women currently possess.” As Carol Maloney (Dem. representative from NY) said, “I didn’t go to Congress to roll back women's rights."
We must make sure that in arguing that health care reform not undo the compromise in place for decades(the Hyde amendment), that we are not legimitizing this law's discrimination against low income women.
After we defeat Stupak, we will mobilize against the Hyde amendment which denies government employees and women on Medicaid access to abortion. And we will win!