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House of Representatives to American Women: “Drop Dead”

November 10, 2009

Yes, a health insurance reform bill passed the House of Representatives this weekend, to which I say “thanks for nothing.”  There’s a long list of problems with the bill, starting with the fact  that the health system change some of us thought we were voting for last year won’t even start to kick in until 2013.  So if you don’t mind waiting at least three years to get that broken leg/cancer surgery/ruptured spleen/heart attack, etc. fixed, then it’s a great bill.

But aside from picky little things like waiting for years and watching insurance companies hike their rates to whatever they feel you should be charged (the bill has no premium caps) and other issues that our representatives thought were just fine, the bill also includes the heinous Stupak-Pitts amendment that places impossibly strict limitations on abortion.

According to the Stupak-Pitts amendment, the public insurance option cannot cover abortions. In addition, a woman who is receiving a government subsidy to help pay for her insurance premiums cannot choose a plan that covers abortion. The only exceptions are cases where the mother’s life is in danger or the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest.  (Read more about how this amendment restricts women’s right to choose in this analysis in Mother Jones magazine.)

ABC News political contributor Donna Brazile summed up the Stupak-Pitts amendment nicely on “This Week with George Stephanopolous”:

“This pretty much outlaws abortion for even people with private insurance,” Brazile said. “This is an onerous burden on women for their reproductive health care. And I hope that they can get it removed in the Senate and also in conference.”

Right now, there’s a lot of talk about this disastrous amendment.  But one of the most cogent arguments I’ve read is from “angry mouse” at DailyKos, who really blew me away with her diary, “I’m done talking about abortion.” The entire piece is worth reading, but this one line sums it up beautifully:

“Either women are full and equal citizens of this country, with the exact same rights that men have — including autonomy of our bodies — or we are not.”

Brilliant in its simplicity and absolutely right on the money. Thank you, Angry Mouse!

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