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“Compromising” Your Reproductive Rights

“Compromising” Your Reproductive Rights

If you need a good reason to be following politics closely these days, here’s one. While the media focuses on the wide and overarching aspects of the health care reform bill, the Senate is deciding on “compromise language” about abortion services, an issue that will affect one in three women in their lifetime.

A particularly dividing issue, abortion has been in and out of the public debate but very much pervasive in the senate’s deliberations. Last Tuesday, a small victory was won when the senate tabled an anti-abortion bill brought about by Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE), Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and others. This bill, which elicited fear in all proper reproductive rights advocates, would have essentially banned the public option from covering abortion services.

Considering the pervasive need for these services, it is quite shocking that this bill even got the attention it did. The defeat of the bill was applauded by reproductive rights organizations throughout the country. But the struggle is continuing as senators attempt to win the votes of anti-abortion members. This is an extremely unfortunate area of health care in which to make concessions.

But alas, compromising, if you can call it that, seems to be a favorite pastime of the 60 Democratic senators lately. And as we speak, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Robert Casey are working on compromise language relating to the abortion services aspect of the bill. This is all in order to win over an anti-abortion Democrat, Senator Bill Nelson. Nelson is speculated to be the only obstruction to the 60 votes needed to block an expected filibuster on the health care bill. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t frustrating to be compromising on women’s reproductive health in order to appease one Senator.

A fantastic editorial in the Austin American-Statesman clarifies the difference between the moral aspects of abortion and the fact that it is, simply, a medical service that is a necessity for women all across the country.

But really this debate puts into perspective the general problem Democrats are having with blocking filibusters and…well…getting anything done. With issues such as abortion, the Democratic party is fragmented, and therefore having a 60-senator majority basically does diddly squat.

But I digress. The point is this: as a room full of mostly men propose to each other ways in which to limit women from the health services they really need, let’s all be vigilant about following the news, shall we? Because we can’t fight something that we don’t know is happening.

And if you’d like to help make sure health care reform covers abortion services, click here.

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by Emily Logan

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87 comments

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8:42AM PDT on Jun 20, 2010

What does anybody care if a woman needs or wants an abortion? It is such a PRIVATE matter. When I walk down the street or go to the store I don't know if any of the women I come across had an abortion and I don't care."If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a frigging sacrament". Don't believe otherwise. It just comes to the oppresion of women. And shame on the stupid women who make themselves available to opress other women. Progress makes no progress in the USA.

1:44PM PST on Dec 29, 2009

I—and I’m sure many others—have experienced the same frustrations as you trying to have rational discussions with some conservatives. You’ll get some of that same flight from reason from some on the far left, as well. I think it was Clint Eastwood who said that if you go far enough to the right or left you’ll meet some of the same wackos. All the same, despite my progressive bias, I think there are good reasons to regard our extremists on the left as generally not nearly as dangerous or plentiful as those on our right.

1:38PM PST on Dec 29, 2009

So, while I may be disappointed in the slow pace of progress, I’m also cognizant of the nature of the beast. Progressive Dems are merely the victims, and it is the unscrupulous extortionists and obstructionists who are the real villains here. What we have to realize is that the health care still represents an overall victory, and provides a beachhead for further progressive initiatives that will eventually shape health care reform into something more palatable and closer to that originally envisioned. I think I share your concern that the Democratic leadership is too passive, and that includes our President. We may have liked to have had a Feingold or a Kucinich, but we ended up with a choice between two accommodating moderates, Obama and Clinton. (I predicted long ago it was naïve of both to expect any kind of bipartisanship from the GOP.) Yet we must not be so idealistic that we are unable to accept the realities forced upon us by a largely ignorant and apathetic electorate, which I think you realize is at the root of things.

1:15PM PST on Dec 29, 2009

Roger H.—
I think you take my point. The illusion is that Dems are in control and progressive policies should be forthcoming, while the reality is that many Dems were elected as centrist and must cater to large conservative constituencies. Some of these Dems may not always vote progressive, but they nevertheless tend to vote much more liberally than their GOP counterpart. There are also usually a few who are DINO because the classification proved politically advantageous at the moment to them.

One problem is that the Senate tends to reflect the more equally divided number of liberal and conservative states, unlike the House, which is more reflective of the true liberal majority present overall in our population. But that problem is only contributory to the crux of the matter, which is the unprecedented level of obstructionism coming from the GOP. Still, this is just their latest despicable tactic in a long line of such things. Having been around for some time, I can verify that this is no longer the party of William F. Buckley. It isn’t about what is best for America; for the past 30 years it’s been all about what’s perceived as best for the GOP. The problem for the GOP is that it’s being controlled by extremists and demagogues, which may make things tough for progressives in the short run, but has already hurt them and will likely continue to prove harmful in the long term, if not necessarily in the next election.

9:01AM PST on Dec 23, 2009

Bruce,
I read the two articles you listed and see where you are coming from. But, as the Washington post articles pointed out, the Senate is made up of more conservative or moderate people that were elected in states that the majority of their constituents are either conservatives or moderates. The "Blue Dog" Democrats in the Senate were only elected into office because of dissatisfaction with their Republican incumbent predecessors. When they come up for reelection, they won't be replaced with more progressive Democrats, they will probably be replaced with a moderate Republican, if they are replaced at all. Independents like Lieberman will either be replaced with a "Blue Dog" Democrat or a moderate Republican. In any case, the Democrats will probably lose seats in both houses of congress in 2010. The Republicans are being very obstructionist, but it is not all due to big corporations. I live in a Republican state that went Democrat in 2008, and the editorials in the local papers praise Republicans in congress for standing up to the Democrats on health care reform. That is the mentality of the Republican constituents. Being a Midwest state, many don't believe in Global Warming either because they haven't seen it for themselves. Really a shame.It's like talking to a brick wall.

8:03AM PST on Dec 23, 2009

Bruce,
When $600 million is spent on lobbying during this health care debate and it was given equally to both the Republican and Democratic parties, the blame game can go on and on but I don't buy it. I also found out the Democratic leadership in the Senate gave away more than $1 billion dollars in taxpayer money to gain the remaining votes to get the 60 votes needed to end debate on the bill. We will now be paying most of Nebraska's and Louisiana's Medicaid tab as well as paying money to a heath care provider in Connecticut and treatment of asbestos exposure caused by a large corporation in Utah all in the name of compromise (bribery). Yes, there will be a net gain, but also at the cost of the public option and women's reproductive health. We have been sold out by both parties and we need to clean house in 2010.

6:30PM PST on Dec 22, 2009

The argument that keeps being repeated about this issue boiling down to one thing, the right of a woman to do with her body as she wishes (esp since historically she has been socially oppressed and reproductive choice is a means of escaping that oppression), constantly overlooks one slight detail. But this detail completely reverses the argument and nullifies the otherwise strong point made by pro-choicers: the point that there is ONE MORE person involved, one with a body, one who is in danger of more oppression than the woman.

It is impossible to say that one cares only for the mother but not the child--or the child and not the mother. If this community is built on caring, then it means sacrificing one's self (resources, time) for helping the BOTH of them. It is simpler and more economical to just abort those children, I realize, but it would be easier for me to club a seal.

Caring is not grounded in expedience—economical or moral. It is more challenging than most people (even here on this site) could guess. But the results are more rewarding than anyone can imagine.

Don’t crown this expedience as "caring". It is NOT.

10:20AM PST on Dec 22, 2009

Roger H.-
I still think your anger is misdirected. Instead of attacking Dems, which is mostly just counterproductive, shouldn’t we place the blame where it rightly belongs—the GOP, Lieberman, Nelson? Despite the cost of passage and its imperfections, isn’t this bill still a net gain? The dealing going on may not be the kind of “change we can believe in”, but who is ultimately responsible for that? The Dems have to play with the cards they’re dealt, not the hand they hoped for. These links to Dionne and Krugman are insightful and may be helpful:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/21/opinion/21krugman.html
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/20/AR2009122002129.html?nav=rss_opinion/columns

10:36PM PST on Dec 21, 2009

Donot be angree from gentlmen ... believe me you need women and they need you.
Do not fight .
Take your rights and give her her rights too.

10:27PM PST on Dec 21, 2009

Ladies and Gentlmen balance your social life dont cause trouble and fight with each other.When you accept being a partner then accept your partner.. Gentlmen without the ladies you wouldnot be existed....
Remember ladies are half of the community nearly, gives you love,so you should give her tha same,be kind ...

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