On Thursday, January 9, 2014, the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice met to gather information on bill H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. The problem with this subcommittee? It is yet another all-male panel set to determine policy that affects women. Another problem with this bill is that it isn’t just about taxpayer funded abortion but also abortions provided via private insurance — insurance the woman pays for via her premiums.
If you recall the all-male birth control panel that propelled Sandra Fluke to unwanted fame and started the infamous slut-shaming by GOP windbag Rush Limbaugh, this new subcommittee is yet another misogynist attempt to harm women and violate our natural rights to body autonomy and self-determination. These men have no idea what it is like to be a poor woman, a woman with a pre-existing health condition, a woman who is scared, or a woman who simply cannot afford to have a child.
This latest all-male subcommittee heard from three witnesses, only two of whom were female. These women were Susan Wood, Associate Professor of Health Policy and of Environmental & Occupational Health in the Department of Health Policy at George Washington University, and Helen Alvare, a Professor of Law at George Mason University School of Law. The third witness was a man, Richard Doerflinger, Associate Director, Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Yes, a religious figurehead getting a say in secular, governmental matters that do not affect him as a religious person OR as a man.
Wood had this to say in her testimony:
The Bill Would Ban Abortion Coverage for Virtually All Women in this Country, Including Those in the Private Insurance Market.
Those who oppose abortion have tried and failed to make it illegal, so instead they have worked to make it almost impossible to obtain. Indeed, some object even to insurance coverage of contraception, the most effective way to prevent unplanned pregnancy and reduce the need for abortion. One of the ways they have accomplished this goal of limiting access to abortion is to make it unaffordable. This bill is their most recent attempt to place affordable abortion care out of reach for even more women.
The need for access to abortion to protect the health of women, not just when they are in danger of imminent death, is critical….. Health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, epilepsy or others would not necessarily fit the definition of placing a woman in “danger of death,” but could have potentially serious consequences for her health. Health insurance currently routinely covers the range of pregnancy care and other health services that may be needed by any individual woman. By denying abortion coverage, this would not only change the current insurance women have, but would put some women’s health at risk.
In conclusion, this bill would impose a sweeping and unprecedented ban on abortion coverage, with far-reaching and harmful consequences for women’s health and economic security. When it comes to the most important decisions in life, such as whether to become a parent, it is vital that a woman be able to consider all her options–including an abortion– no matter what her income or source of insurance. It makes sense that health programs cover the whole spectrum of women’s reproductive health needs, including birth control, abortion, and childbirth, because when people can plan if and when to have children, it’s good for them and for society as a whole.
Here’s a link to the Judiciary page where you can read all three statements.
Part of Deorflinger’s complaint is that he, and some others, do not want tax-payer dollars going to pay for elective abortions. As a pacifist, I don’t want my tax-payer dollars going to build bombs and fund wars based on lies. And yet, my wishes aren’t granted. For women who might get a teeny bit of tax-payer money to help them get an abortion if they need or elect to have one, these women are tax-payers, too. If they’re adult women, they pay taxes in some form or another, whether it’s sales tax at the grocery store, gasoline tax at the gas pump, property taxes on their house or apartment, or income tax.
Do we even need to go over how hypocritical it is that Viagra is covered by insurance but abortion may not be?
STOP MAKING WOMEN OUT TO BE MOOCHING SLUTS. Women get pregnant. By MEN. We’re in this together. Drop the misogyny and look at the facts as presented by Wood.
This subcommittee and this bill are yet another step backwards for American women and American politics. According to the Guttmacher Institute, as of 2013, 56% of women live in one of the 27 states considered hostile to abortion. Guttmacher also crunched the numbers on anti-abortion laws:
Twenty-two states enacted 70 abortion restrictions during 2013. This makes 2013 second only to 2011 in the number of new abortion restrictions enacted in a single year…. 205 abortion restrictions were enacted over the past three years (2011–2013), but just 189 were enacted during the entire previous decade (2001–2010).
Let’s review some of the other misogynist highlights that happened in the USA in the past couple of years that I covered here on ArousedWomanBlog.com:
What does this mean for women in the United States? We MUST stand up and speak up for our rights as American citizens and human beings with basic human rights. And we MUST vote more pro-choice women in Congress.