8 11 2009

Health care reform passes in the House—yay. . . oh, wait.

The Stupak amendment is included in final House bill. The amendment which not only reiterates the noxious Hyde amendment (which prohibits federal funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, and threats to life of the woman), but extends the prohibition to the woman purchasing coverage for abortion, if said purchase is in any way subsidized (as in, any ‘affordability credits’ meant to make insurance, well, affordable) by the government.

[Side note: Stupak and his supporters state that offering a subsidy to individuals to use as they see fit—which, under the health reform bill, would apply widely—is the same as a direct subsidy to the institutions or practices which the individual uses. By this logic, then, all voucher and student loan money given to individuals which allows them to choose religious schools ought to be banned as unconstitutional support for religion. Don’t hold your breath for Stupak et. al. to make this connection.]

That’s right: a woman paying a premium for insurance which includes coverage for abortion is now considered identical to the federal government paying for the abortion itself.

Because, hey, there’s no such thing as a fertile woman who can make and act on decisions on her own behalf, so of course this is not an autonomous act, but an act of the state.

Therefore, the state has to act on behalf of such women, as opposed to removing those obstacles which allow them to act on their own behalf.

How does this work?

Well, because, hey, sometimes women have sex just because they want to, which means they can’t be trusted to control their sexuality;

And because, hey, sometimes these women who have sex just because they want to end up pregnant, which means that they can’t be trusted to control their own fertility;

And sometime these women who have sex just because they want to and end up pregnant choose to end the pregnancy;

And because, hey, one in four women in the US have at some point chosen to end a pregnancy, and you can’t know just by looking at them which one out of every four women has so chosen or how many more might consider so choosing;

And because, hey, [consideration of] such a choice means that women seek to escape the consequences of their actions;

And a woman who seeks to avoid the consequences of her actions is by definition irresponsible;

And  irresponsibility means the woman lacks the ability to choose;

THEREFORE, the only responsible action for the state is to insure that they do nothing to make it easier and in fact make it harder for women to be in the position whereby they could actually choose.

Yeah, that’s some goddamned reform.



2 responses

9 11 2009

Just imagine if men, with all their inherited rights and privileges, carried the child. Coverage for abortions would have been written into the Bill of Rights.

I remember reading an article on the changing definition of what a viable child has been, and how it’s been moved steadily back over the years. Whereas hundreds of years ago conception wasn’t really real until “the quickening”, now it goes all the way back to a fertilized egg. The title of the article, as I recall, was “Conception begins at ‘What’s your sign?'”

13 11 2009

There’s an old, old piece, I think by Gloria Steinem (tho’ perhaps by Lindsay Van Gelder) called ‘If men could menstruate.’ You can guess the trajectory of the essay.

As far as changing definitions, I think it has to do with the ability to detect: the greater human knowledge of human biology, the more exposed is what used to happen in the body, hidden from surveillance and control.

It’s much more complicated than that, of course, especially when one considers that in some cultures it was traditional not to welcome an infant into the community until some point well AFTER birth, i.e., presumably after it was determined that the infant had a decent chance at survival.

And going in the other direction, one could drag in the story of Onan and the caution against the spilling of the sacred seed (since it’s not as if women had much to contribute). . . .

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