Coakley, Schmoakley: You’re Not Our Heroes Anymore

Dear Readers,

Here’s my take on tomorrow’s big U.S. Senate election, taken from the Huffington Post national Politics and Chicago pages. Go here:



Here is the full text of my post, inspired by one of my favorite musicians, B.B. King, and doubly-inspired by thinking about Dr. King: Check-it-out.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley may or may not be elected to the U.S. Senate tomorrow. I ask you: What difference will it make–one way or the other?

Badly, the Democratic guns-for-hire, Coakley’s would-be colleagues, and the President want Martha Coakley elected because they, badly, want their sixtieth vote for a healthcare bill that presently renders American women unequal, second-class to the men around them.

Coakley can’t wait to vote for it: In thrall to Ted Kennedy’s legacy and desirous of keeping the “Kennedy seat,” talk about entitlement, she campaigns with Vicki Kennedy to make her case.

So, let’s say Martha Coakley pulls it out of the bag. Then what?

Well, at the same time Friday that the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee was pleading with me to send money to help get Martha Coakley elected, I received a call from U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) fundraiser.

Now, Amy is a longtime and dear personal friend: A law school classmate of my husband’s, we have sent money to Amy since her first run for office back in the 90’s. So, when Amy decided to run for the U.S. Senate, I took it upon myself to introduce her to then Senator Obama’s donor-world: the world of big-money, progressive Chicago Democrats. The dividends (for her) have paid-off ever since.

But what about the dividends for me, for the rest of the women of Chicago, for the women of Minnesota, or for the rest of America?

Talk about the bag. Looks to me like we’ve all been left, holding the bag.

The reason for the formation of Emily’s List, say, and of other women’s organizations that raise money and work to elect pro-choice, Democratic women candidates, was crystal-clear: It was to increase the representation of Democratic women in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, so that these women would do what the Democratic men had failed to do: make the American world an equal one.

We were highly motivated; we worked really hard; we had a great interest in helping the interested women among us achieve this opportunity to serve—in order to serve our interests.

Instead, we find them serving their own.

As I’ve previously written in these pages, in lockstep with their male colleagues, the 13 Democratic women U.S. Senators voted for a healthcare “reform” bill that, tragically, takes millions of American women back to pre-Roe v. Wade days, i.e., to daily life in which they will, odds-are, be unable to obtain an abortion, in their very own state.

As to the Democratic women Members of the House of Representatives, well, yes, a group is fighting hard against the Stupak Amendment (talk about pre-Roe!), but their leader, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, birthed Stupak in the first place. Talk about failing to serve the interests of women.

You’re not my heroes anymore.

Your elections excited me. Your elections motivated me to (keep) helping you, because I believed that your election meant I would have representatives of me, fighting for me.

Well, as B.B. King would say: “The thrill is gone.”

Don’t come to me saying you represent me; don’t come to me saying that I owe you my financial support; don’t come to me saying that you are the defender of my rights; don’t come to me saying you matter to women, or, worse yet, for women.

For, right now, you don’t.

So, until further notice, my phone is on voicemail; my checkbook is closed; my e-mail contact list doesn’t include you; my living room chairs are empty of women donors; and my speeches for you won’t get written.

B. B. continues: “The thrill is gone away for good.”

Is it?

That’s up to you.

On this day of all days, on the day when we honor the work of a man assassinated for standing- up and acting on his belief in equal rights, the least you can do is:

· Stop making deals, stand-up to the enemy, and fight like Dr. King did.

· Stop thinking that being just a little bit better than the guys next-door is enough help for those who depend on you. Dr. King didn’t make this mistake, and neither should you.

· Stop thinking that being in proximity to power is sufficient (to our needs). The only thing that actually matters, on days like these, is having the power, and using it to do good.

· Stop thinking that fighting to “maintain the status quo” is a win, ‘cause, gee whiz, I tried really hard. It isn’t, not when women’s very lives are at-stake.

· Stop thinking “half a loaf is better than none.” Sometimes, some days, these days, this day,it’s not. We know that, and so should you.

On this day, of all days:

· Know that your male colleagues don’t understand what we need, in the way that you do. We need you to do what needs doing.

· Know that your sworn enemies won’t, ever, honor their word. The last few months of “healthcare reform” are ample proof of that, if any were ever needed. We need you to outflank our enemy, however you can manage to do that.

· Know that equal rights can’t be achieved by conducting business “as usual.” We need you to conduct the business that needs conducting, no matter the price you may personally pay for breaking away from the (male) norm.

· Know that you owe us a debt, and it’s time to pay it. We need you do what Dr. King did: Fight until you can’t fight anymore.

I close as B.B. closed: “I’m free, free now; I’m free from your spell, and now that it’s over, all I can do is wish you well.”


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: — 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.


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:


Rebecca (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: