White Men Can’t Jump: The Rep. Stupak Edition

Dear Readers,

Here is the latest call-to-action from Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood.

Please read, and take part. And, if you are in Washington, D.C. on December 2nd, there will be a major rally at The Capitol; see below for details.

Don’t let the anti-choice Stupak amendment become law.

You’re furious, and we hear you. Tens of thousands of Planned Parenthood supporters have expressed disappointment, sadness, and anger since the House adopted the anti-choice Stupak abortion ban to its health care reform bill.

Believe me, I’m just as angry as you are. And I want to take the outrage that supporters of women’s health are feeling and turn it into action. If we join together, we can still stop the Stupak ban and other efforts to undermine choice. The first step is simple, but it will be effective: sign our petition to President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Reid, and Speaker Pelosi.

If the Stupak ban becomes law, it will outlaw private abortion coverage for millions of women and prohibit coverage in the public option. That means that millions of women who currently have abortion coverage will lose it — and millions more will be locked out of the comprehensive coverage they have long deserved, even if they are paying for the entire cost out of pocket. It will be the most far-reaching restriction of abortion access in decades. We have to stop it now.

Take action to stop the Stupak ban before it’s too late. Click here to sign our petition:

When you speak out, lawmakers listen. [Last] Sunday, I asked Planned Parenthood supporters to contact President Obama and ask him to stand up for women — and more than 30,000 of you answered the call. The next day, President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to women’s health and stated plainly that Congress must pass a health care reform bill that does not impose any further restrictions on women’s ability to choose a health plan that meets all of their health care needs, including abortion care.

Now, our focus turns to the Senate. We are demanding that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ensure that language similar to the Stupak ban does not become part of the Senate bill. Help us make it clear that the Senate must protect women’s access to complete reproductive care, including abortion.

Those of us who support women’s health and right to choose must come together and demand that women be treated fairly under health care reform. We need to tell our leaders — including President Obama, Majority Leader Reid, and Speaker Pelosi — that women must decide for themselves what kind of insurance coverage they can buy and what kind of health care they need.

Anything less is unacceptable.

Please, sign our petition right now:
http://www.ppaction.org/campaign/future/ii5n38i2p77k37xd?source=hcr09foc_e1_ppol — and know that this is just the first step in what will surely be a long fight for women’s health.

Over the coming weeks, I’m going to ask you for help again and again. And on December 2, thousands of supporters will gather at the Capitol to speak with one voice and tell our
leaders: health care reform must protect access to abortion coverage. I hope you’ll stand with us, today and throughout this crucial campaign.

(C)2009 Planned Parenthood(R) Federation of America, Inc.


Why Roland Burris Matters to Barack Obama, Right Now

Dear Readers,

I’m delighted to tell you that I’ve become an Huffington Post blogger.

Go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-sive for: “A Lesson for Barack Obama from the Harold Washington Playbook,” my first.

My second, “Why Roland Burris Matters to Barack Obama, Right Now,” is a featured post today. It is at the link above, as well as at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chicago.

As I’ve gotten into this whole (blogging) thing over the last few months, I’m thinking I’d like to be a muckraker of the 21st century women’s movement, or, if you will, the Rachel Maddow of my generation: the unrepentant feminist truth-teller, strategist, and, yes, when needed, rabble-rouser and occasional (metaphorical) bomb-thrower; one who understands, and helps others understand, that, lest we thought otherwise, the (needed) women’s revolution is unfinished.

Case-in-point: Just think about the Saturday-night massacre this past Saturday night.

Mr. Stupak, (in my opinion, Mr. Stupid), and his infamous colleagues did more harm to America’s women than has been done in a generation. Read the brilliant Cecile Richards on this one:
“Dear Rebecca,

“[Saturday] was brutal.

“While there are some who are satisfied with the health care reform bill that passed in the House of Representatives late Saturday night, I am not one of them.

“When it came down to it, Congress passed a bill that will undercut women’s access to comprehensive health care. Despite hundreds of thousands of voters like you and me who called on members of Congress to include women’s health care in health care reform, the bill that passed late Saturday night includes a ban on private abortion coverage for millions of women and would prohibit it in the new ‘public option.’

“Opponents of legal abortion and health care for women are emboldened by Saturday night’s vote and ready to bring their ban on abortion to the Senate floor. But now it’s our turn.

“President Obama campaigned on a promise to put reproductive health care at the center of his reform plan. Supporters of women’s health voted for him and contributed to his campaign in record numbers — and now it’s time for the president to reaffirm his commitment to women’s health, and demand that Congress reject any bill that leaves women worse off under health care reform than they are today. Take a moment right now to tell President Obama that we need him to stand with us — in both his words and in his actions.

If there’s anything we learned Saturday, it’s that women’s health is being targeted as expendable in health care reform.” _______________________________________________________________
Another great woman and feminist colleague, Marcia Greenberger, head of the National Women’s Law Center, cited the benefits of Saturday’s bill.

But, remember, we will get none of these, if the right bill doesn’t pass the Senate. And, here’s my question: Do we want any bill to pass the Senate that codifies women’s second-class status; that takes us back to the dark, pre-Roe, back-alley days?

Here is Marcia’s list of the bill’s benefits:

–gender-based pricing in health insurance is barred, ending the practice of charging women more;

–financial assistance would be available to members of a group that includes a higher proportion of women: those with incomes too high to be eligible for Medicaid but not sufficient to afford market-priced insurance;

–all insurance companies would be banned from denying coverage of pre-existing conditions, including pregnancy, breast cancer and intimate-partner abuse;

–preventive care, such as Pap smears and mammograms, would be required, benefiting numerous women who might otherwise skip such screenings; and

–a national insurance exchange will be created where small businesses can buy insurance at lower cost and where no higher prices to cover female employees will be permitted, a provision that helps women because most small employers are women with female employees.

Back to the Huffington Post.

Here’s what the HP blogteam suggests, so that thoughts can be shared, and, I hope, most-of-all, be used as encouragement to organize:

–Email/IM: Send a note, with a link to my posts, to any lists you’re on and encourage comment.

–Encourage your friends to share the post, too.

–Facebook/Twitter: Share the post via Facebook or Twitter.

Sisterhood is powerful: let us not forget this.


Call Your Congressperson Now! Yes, I’m Asking You to Call Again.

EMERGENCY: We need your phone call NOW

FROM: Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood

“I’m writing to you with an urgent request.

“Late yesterday, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops met with leaders in the House of Representatives in their bid to eliminate women’s access to abortion care under health care reform.

“We have just received news that their efforts are working, and Representative Bart Stupak has introduced an amendment to the health care reform bill that will result in women losing health care coverage for abortion.

“We urgently need you, and your friends and family, to call your Representative. Call and ask him or her to reject the Stupak amendment that will remove abortion coverage from health care reform. After you call, just reply to this message and let us know how it went.

“If the bishops and their anti-choice partners in the House succeed, they’ll permanently alter health care in America, even taking away benefits from women that they have today. The bishops want to effectively eliminate abortion coverage in both private plans and the public option. We simply cannot stand for such a discriminatory, mean-spirited attack on women.

“It’s a chilling ultimatum: eliminate choice for millions of women, or the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will do all they can to kill health care reform. This is a true crisis for American women, and we need you to act now.

“Call your representative at (202) 225-5006 and tell him or her to reject this attack on women’s health — and then forward this message to your friends, your family, everyone you know and ask them to do the same (and don’t forget to post the news to Facebook, Twitter — everywhere).

“We need you now, more than ever. Thank you for standing strong with us in the face of this vicious last-minute attack on women.”


Cecile Richards, President
Planned Parenthood Federation of America

P.S. Here’s how you can urge others on Facebook and Twitter to call Congress:

For Facebook, post this to your status:
EMERGENCY – Representative Bart Stupak has just introduced an amendment to the health care reform bill that will eliminate coverage for abortion care. I just called my Rep and you should too. Call 202-730-9001 and ask him or her to reject the amendment.

Post this message on Twitter:
URGENT – Call yr Rep NOW to reject the Stupak amend to hlth care reform. Wld eliminate all abortion care. 202-730-9001. Pls RT.
And here’s the news report: http://www.newser.com/story/73534/health-care-reform-hinges-on-house-abortion-vote.html


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-sive (Here’s my debut blogpost for Huffington Post, related to this matter, and what the President ought to do, in my view.)

My November 3, 2009 Post:

House Dems Continue Health Reform Negotiations, Close to Deal on Abortion Coverage


November 3, 2009 — House Democrats are nearing a compromise over abortion language in the chamber’s health care reform bill (HR 3962), CongressDaily reports. House leaders are hoping to attract enough support from moderate Democrats “to mitigate a threat” from Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) that he will block the bill from coming to the House floor, according to CongressDaily (Hunt/House, Congres Daily, 11/3). Stupak said on Monday that he will “continue whipping my colleagues to oppose bringing the bill to the floor for a vote until a clean vote against public funding for abortion is allowed.”

According to the Washington Post, the outcome of the negotiations “could be crucial” to determining if the legislation will pass, since “Democrats need the vast majority of their caucus to back the bill” and nearly all House Republicans have said they will vote against it. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said, “We are making progress” on the issue, adding that an agreement has not been reached (Bacon, Washington Post, 11/3).

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) has been working on the compromise with Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.), who on Monday circulated language that would revise an amendment sponsored by Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) without codifying Hyde Amendment language, according to CongressDaily. After reviewing Ellsworth’s draft, Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.) said his concerns about abortion coverage in the bill were eased because “[i]t makes it clear that no federal dollars can be used for abortion” (Hunt/House, CongressDaily, 11/3).

According to the Post, the disagreement over abortion coverage focuses on proposed federal subsidies to help lower the cost of policies under new health insurance exchanges. The Capps amendment allows people who are eligible for subsidized coverage to purchase policies that cover abortion services. Insurers would segregate a portion of funds generated through employer or individual premiums from public funds to ensure that no federal money goes toward abortion (Washington Post, 11/30). Abortion-rights advocates say that the amendment would not expand access to abortion beyond what it is now, NPR’s “Morning Edition” reports. Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said that this is “not at all what the reproductive rights movement had hoped for,” adding that it is “not a win for women — it’s a compromise.” Northup went on to note that about one in three U.S. women will have an abortion in her lifetime and that the procedure “should be a part of her reproductive health care.”

Abortion-rights opponents claim that the amendment favors abortion rights, “Morning Edition” reports. Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, called the amendment a “sharp departure from decades of federal abortion policy” (Rovner, “Morning Edition,” NPR, 11/3).
For more information, go to: http://www.nationalpartnership.org/