I am angry. I am disappointed. I am filled with sorrow. Today, President Obama signed an executive order reaffirming the Hyde Amendment in order to appease Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) in order to pass health care reform. While I am happy that healthcare reform seems to be in its ending stages, I do not support that women’s reproductive health and rights have been compromised. These are not matters to be voted on.
As I heard today, this giving in to Stupak is basically the Senate’s way of saying that women’s reproductive rights can continue to controlled by white men—in a way I do agree. However, I feel that greater forces are at play here. Think for instance of low-income women and families. What happens when a low-income woman who really needs an abortion cannot attain one via health insurance—what if she simply cannot afford to have an abortion (they’re pricey)? What happens when paying for an abortion for an unplanned pregnancy pushes a low-income family further into debt? I believe that all women should have the option of having an abortion if they need one. Sure there are condoms and contraceptives, but it is important to remember that not all women have access to these things that we so often take for granted.
As I sit here I am wondering what ramifications will be had given that President Obama pushed women in America under the bus today. I understand that there will be times that he will disappoint us with the decisions he makes, but this should not be one of those times. What happens to low-income women working minimum wages jobs (which often do not provide health insurance coverage) who need to have an abortion for whatever reason? What about them? This executive order, this provision that reaffirms the Hyde Amendment, renders these women silent—that is not fair and it is not something that I will stand for.
So, while we sit enraged over the decisions of today, it is important to remember that our fight is far from over. We must not stop and will not stop until women are no longer thrown under the bus. We must fight for our reproductive rights and health! And we must continue until we are all afforded the health care that we—humankind alike—deserve.