Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Stupak Amendment Reader

I find it difficult to write, speak, or even think about the Stupak-Pitts amendment to the House healthcare bill without erupting into a giant ball of fire-spitting incredulous rage, and I do need to keep my surroundings fire-free today, so here is a roundup of what more rational people have loaded onto the big internet truck in the past couple days.

From Think Progress, Republicans acting like caterwauling teabaggers doing their best Joe Wilson impression to prevent members of the Democratic Women's Caucus from testifying in support of a healthcare bill that includes full reproductive health coverage, including abortion.
As the Democratic Women’s Caucus took to the microphone on the House floor to offer their arguments for how the bill would benefit women, House Republicans — led by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) — repeatedly talked over, screamed, and shouted objections. “I object, I object, I object, I object, I object,” Price interjected as Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) tried to hold the floor.

From Crooks and Liars, Dr. Nancy Snyderman (on MSNBC) fumes for all of us:

You know what I find so infuriating about this? I mean, absolutely infuriating? And this isn't about being pro-choice or pro-abortion or any of the hot button lingo. We know women pay more for insurance than men. We know women are restricted in the states. And now it's basically, if you're a 50 year old woman and you're in a monogamous relationship you suddenly find yourself pregnant, you better know that have an abortion rider in order to access health care that you thought you had? It is one more pressure on women.

From Jezebel, Latoya Peterson provides a very source-rich rundown and commentary.

So, let's recap:

1. No public option
2. We have an exchange that assumes a relative definition of "affordable"
3. Somehow, they managed to work this so that even women who were paying for their own care got conned out of abortion coverage
4. Undocumented workers can't access this plan, even without subsidies, though they - like other human beings - get sick and need treatment like everyone else.

Ladies and gentlemen, we got hosed.

Jezebel again, this time Anna North, relaying a WTF letter to Nancy Pelosi from pro-choice Democrats:

Greg Sargent reports at least 41 pro-choice Democrats have signed a letter to Nancy Pelosi stating the following:

As Members of Congress we believe that women should have access to a full range of reproductive health care. Health care reform must not be misused as an opportunity to restrict women's access to reproductive health services.

The Stupak-Pitts amendment to H.R. 3962, The Affordable Healthcare for America Act, represents an unprecedented and unacceptable restriction on women's ability to access the full range of reproductive health services to which they are lawfully entitled. We will not vote for a conference report that contains language that restricts women's right to choose any further than current law.

Talk to me, Rachel.

More from Latoya Peterson:

I still hate that "sneaking in funding for abortions" line: It's like the lawmakers heard the cries for affordable premiums and comprehensive coverage, and thought Yeah, but what about all those unscrupulous whores scheming to use their health care coverage to through abortion parties and make fetus-necklaces? WTF? Doesn't the Hyde Amendment go far enough?

And, finally, for the grand finale, who do we really have to thank for this clusterfuck (which is now solely for purposes of procreation, hahahaha you sluts)? Why, the Catholic Church, still inexplicably tax-exempt despite bending the third prong of the Lemon test fork so far backwards as to almost stab itself in its legislation-pushing wrist.

As rumors spread that Republicans might vote “present” in order to scuttle the entire bill, even Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, called Republican leader John Boehner to make sure the GOP didn’t play any games with the Stupak amendment, sources said.[...]

The drama had built for months, pitting a group of Democrats against the Catholic Church. Priests and bishops were calling members to lobby for stricter language to limit abortion coverage, members and aides said last week.[...]

[Rep. Brad] Ellsworth [D-IN], in consultation with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was trying to amend legislation passed out of the Energy and Commerce Committee to make sure insurance companies that receive federal funds under the programs created by the bill don’t use any of that money to pay for abortions.

By Thursday, Ellsworth, who was working closely with Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) realized the church wouldn’t accept anything less than a version of Hyde, so he and his staff started working on a version the bishops could accept, aides said.

Swell. First the Church throws loads of cash it could have spent on crumbling and closing parishes in Maine at, instead, ensuring committed gay couples can't marry, and now it swings its giant stick to make sure that all women who can't afford insurance on their own adhere to the Church's teachings on abortion, whether they're Catholic or not. Republican men in the House of Representatives shout down women. Teabaggers rejoice.

Good job, y'all. You've managed to push your odious legislation that's aimed at the mythical subset of unmarried women who use abortion as birth control, or as a backup mood-lifter when the nail salon is booked, through the first step of becoming law for us all. I don't know what happens next, as trying to make predictions in this arena has only led to me pulling my few remaining brown hairs out.

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