What Health Care Reform?

22 Mar

Inevitably, as pro-choice activists we face people who simply do not understand the need for a reproductive health movement.  Roe is the law of the land, what’s the big deal?  Nine times out of 10 my infuriated response dives straight into an explanation of Hyde, the erosion of protections in the states, and what it means now that we have legally lost the right to have an abortion for health reasons alone.  But now I have an addendum,  health care reform and the inevitable loss of private health insurance coverage of abortion.

Though I am ecstatic we are on our way to passing historic legislation that will help millions of Americans, I have never been more dedicated to promoting reproductive justice.  The mainstream pro-choice movement has officially lost its way and we, as reproductive justice activists, need to fill their gap.  I woke up this morning to an email from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, four paragraphs in she merely notes that the Nelson amendment stands.  If Planned Parenthood is going to settle, who is going to fight?

I understand we all want to improve health care for as many Americans as possible, and that unfortunately we do not have the political climate to get truly comprehensive health care to everyone, but we already compromised on abortion with the status quo.  Why do we have to set ourselves back farther?  Who does that help?  Why are we again leaving behind poor women?

6 Responses to “What Health Care Reform?”

  1. riotnotquiet March 22, 2010 at 12:37 pm #

    “I have never been more dedicated to promoting reproductive justice.”

    Same here. A former gender studies professor of mine recently asked our group to contribute to an article outlining the main focus of young feminism today – what’s the core of our struggle, what’s in the center of our work as political activists?

    And I told her it’s this, reproductive justice.

    Abortion rights should be the foundation of any individual or group determined to drive the women’s movement forward. Let’s all carry it into our daily conversations, let’s take it out of our inner circles and into all kinds of social relationships. Do not leave it to Plannend Parenthood and abortion providers to be the voices for choice, add your own voice, make it personal, and be _proud_ of your stance. Do not, ever, accept the stigma associated with abortion.

  2. tashana March 22, 2010 at 12:50 pm #

    May I ask a sincere question? I really want to help promote reproductive justice (spread awareness, help legislation get passed, etc.). However, I honestly don’t know where to start. What organizations would you say volunteering/interning/working for would have the most impact?

  3. clydweb March 22, 2010 at 4:50 pm #

    An answer to tashana: Check out your local abortion fund! start with the National Network of Abortion Funds and if you don’t have a local fund START ONE! The need for abortion access is greater than ever!

  4. Nicole March 22, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

    Hi Tashana! Thanks so much for the comment. I would recommend starting with SisterSong and Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice, but look for local programs too. And if you need help feel free to contact me.

  5. Rose March 22, 2010 at 9:36 pm #

    I completely agree with the sentiment of your post, but I do want to point out that not all of the mainstream pro-choice movements have bailed! NARAL fought hard against Nelson and never supported the health-care bill when it included either Nelson or Stupak. And they’re not happy with the result – here’s the statement they released yesterday: http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/news/press-releases/2010/pr03212010-finalhousehcr.html

    But again, I’m with you on everything else. It’s so hard not to be able to celebrate the bill’s passing as a victory, because nearly everyone else (or so it feels) is treating it as such.

  6. Nicole March 22, 2010 at 10:16 pm #

    Hi Rose! I agree with you completely. I actual had a couple sentences about NARAL specifically in my original draft of the post but took it out as I wasn’t capturing the sentiment fairly. Thanks for adding that nuance-it is greatly appreciated!

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