Perhaps it is silly for me to write about Health Care Reform this week – its already everywhere in the news! You’re probably sick of hearing about what a monumental step forward this legislation is for the un- and under-insured. I’m sure you’re tired of reading about the procedural details that have marked this Bill’s path. And after Senator Bart Stupak’s Amendment, President Obama’s Executive Order and all this talk surrounding abortion, I imagine you are fed up with the reproductive health rhetoric.
I know I sure am.
Mostly, I’m fed up with the way we take two steps backward to make any progress forward. I’m fed up with allusions to “revolutionary change” for legislation that simply acknowledges our human rights to basic health care. I’m fed up with the fact that as a woman, my body is not my own to control. Reproductive choice has become a political ploy with which politicians can battle, childishly bickering over a decision that should be mine in the first place.
So, personal biases aside, what effects do the legislation’s changes have on me (and you too!) as a woman, anyway?
The controversy causing trouble in passing health care legislation is based in the 1976 Hyde Amendment that prohibits federal funding for abortion services. The current Reform not only re-affirms, but intensifies the measures taken to divert government money away from reproductive health. Now, a woman seeking abortion coverage from her insurance will be required to write two separate checks each month, a technicality that renders access to reproductive rights a further inconvenience – one extra thing to add to the to-do list.
Not only does the passage of Health Care Reform mean that women (simply because of our anatomy!) must pay additional fees to salvage basic rights, but also that our freedoms can be used as a political bargaining chip. It illustrates that our policymakers view women’s rights and reproductive health as secondary concerns to be tacked on or crossed out at their discretion. It ignores the fact that a women’s health determines the health of society as a whole.