Is President Obama Pro-Choice?

President Obama is enjoying a recent surge in popularity because of the death of Osama bin Laden. But many Progressives aren’t feeling a renewed surge of love for President Obama (myself included), primarily because they feel like President Obama sold them a bill of goods during the election, and he has now reneged on all those campaign promises.

Reproductive rights is one of the areas where President Obama fails to meet my expectations. In the latest issue of Conscience Magazine, Jodi Jacobson raises similar feelings of disapproval.

“As a candidate, Obama said all the right things. As a president, his actions suggest that then-presidential contender and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was right—he will not fight for us.… The president has presided over the greatest erosion to women’s reproductive health and rights in the past 30 years, and a continuing degradation of our rights at the state level. Yet still he remains silent. Is Obama pro-choice? Not by my definition.”

I’m with Jacobson on this one. President Obama’s advisers have recommended that he veto HR3 when it lands on his desk, but I want to hear the president speak up for himself on this issue. The president never stood up during the health care reform debate to speak out against the Stupak amendment, and HR3 is just the latest version of President Obama’s lack of leadership in reproductive rights. [Read more...]

New Report Shows Hyde Amendment Hurts Poor Women

Last Fall, the debate about including abortion in the health care reform package became a lightening rod that threatened to derail the entire movement towards comprehensive health care coverage. The health care reform bill was passed with language that prevented health care dollars from being spent on abortion. But pro-choice advocates are well aware that the Stupak Amendment was just a recycled version of old news. The Hyde Amendment, which was passed in 1976, bars federal funding for abortion services.

A new report released from the Center for Reproductive Rights shows that the Hyde Amendment has had a disproportionate impact on poor women. According to the report:

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/15141054[/vimeo]

If Stupak wasn’t enough, there is a new piece of legislation pending in Congress called the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which would make the Hyde Amendment permanent law, and extend bans on coverage for abortion to the private sector. But the bill doesn’t stop there. It reaches even further than Hyde and, amongst other things:

  • Permanently denies low-income women, federal employees, and military women abortion coverage
  • Effectively ends abortion coverage in private employer policies
  • Could undermine women’s access to life-saving emergency abortions at state and local public hospitals

The bill already has over 170 co-sponsors and is picking up traction in the House. Pissed off? Do something about it! Check out the Center for Reproductive Rights’ website for actions you can take today.

Michael Moore on Rachel Maddow: “If you don’t want to have an abortion, don’t have one!”

I thought this was a really interesting interview. Moore and Maddow discuss Moore’s new film, the Stupak Amendment, the hesitation of Democrats to get things done, and more. Its too bad more people can’t be as bold as these two.

All I Want For Christmas is Some Health Care

Anti-choice senators struck a backdoor deal in the middle of the night on December 19th when Senator Harry Reid offered an manager’s amendment to the health care bill that is every bit as restrictive as the Stupak-Pitts amendment to the House version of the health care bill. According to NOW:

The provision was drafted to gain the vote of abortion rights opponent Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and is a complicated variation of Stupak-Pitts. It allows any state to prohibit abortion coverage in health insurance exchanges. In addition, all funds that would pay for abortion services would have to be segregated from other private funds and federal subsidies. This requirement would apply to the tens of millions of women who would buy their insurance under the new exchanges and, in the opinion of expert health policy analysts, would mean that insurers simply would not provide abortion coverage in the exchange plans. Eventually, insurers would stop offering abortion coverage altogether.

[Read more...]

Abortion On the Line – A Time for Rage, Not for Lobbying!

sunsara taylorSunsara Taylor is a writer for Revolution Newspaper and and Advisory Board member of The World Can’t Wait. Taylor has traveled to the heart of the controversy around abortion and Christian fascism—reporting from the funeral Dr. George Tiller, leading protests in support of abortion outside Obama’s commencement speech at Notre Dame, and disrupting Rick Warren’s sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church. In 2008-2009, she conducted a national speaking tour to promote the book Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, by Bob Avakian. If you search her name on Youtube, you can watch her indict the U.S. for war crimes and torture while holding her own against Bill O’Reilly. These are her words.

In May of this year, Dr. George Tiller, one of the most courageous abortion doctors in the country, was assassinated. In the weeks that followed, violence and threats against women’s clinics and doctors continued at heightened levels.

Two weeks ago, the U.S. Senate approved a version of health care reform that includes an amendment, Stupak-Pitts, that would deprive women of health-care that covers abortion if they receive any form of government stipend or tax break. While the version that is working its way through the House doesn’t include these same restrictions, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-OR) and Ben Nelson (D-NE) are poised to introduce them. If passed, millions of women would lose the abortion coverage they currently have and complicated abortions needed for the health or life of the woman will become cripplingly expensive.

Taken together, these events represent an escalation in the legal and extra-legal assault on women’s right to abortion beyond anything under the Bush Regime. Without the right to decide for themselves, without coercion, shame or danger, when and whether they will have children, women are not free. When half of humanity is oppressed, all of society suffers. [Read more...]

Tuesday News Roundup

Abortion Myths Debunked – National Abortion Federation
My Baby Would Have Died Under Stupak – RH Reality Check
Millennial and the Right to Choose – RH Reality Check
Reid “Confident” Senate Will Pass Health Care Bill – USA Today
El Paso Health Provider Stepping Up to Replace Planned Parenthood – El Paso Times

More Thoughts on the Generational Divide

social-networking-logosThe New York Times had a story yesterday about the generational divide that exists in the pro-choice movement. Author Sheryl Stolberg argued that women who have come of age in a post-Roe world take their reproductive rights for granted.

“Here is a generation that has never known a time when abortion has been illegal,” said Anna Greenberg, a Democratic pollster who studies attitudes toward abortion. “For many of them, the daily experience is: It’s legal and if you really need one you can probably figure out how to get one. So when we send out e-mail alerts saying, ‘Oh my God, write to your senator,’ it’s hard for young people to have that same sense of urgency.”

Stolberg does go on to state that although Gen X and younger hasn’t lived in a world where abortion is illegal, they are active in the fight to protect reproductive rights. She quotes yours truly, and then gives an example of the Stop Stupak group on Facebook. Stolberg argues that the current generation of feminists is using the internet to change the face or organizing, but she neglected to mention that social networking and blogging has substantially changed the movement’s ability to efficiently mobilize its members. [Read more...]

Friday News Roundup

mouse2High-Stakes of Stupak-Pitts Amendment for Women of Color – Race Wire
Reid Modifies Abortion Language But Eschews Stupak Language – The Hill
Public Opinion on Abortion Coverage – UPI
New Study Shows Stupak Will End Abortion Coverage for All Women – Talking Points Memo

Check out these activism opportunities
Stop Stupak Phone Banking in LA – Feminist Campus
8 Ways to Take a Stand Against Stupak – Young Feminist Task Force

Not a RIGHT, but an obligation, to fight.

Our predecessors risked everything to protect a woman’s right to choose. If we want, we can defeat the Stupak amendment.

We_Can_Do_It!I am reading an inspiring book, Wherever There’s a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Immigrants, Strikers, and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California. From free speech rights to the gay rights movement, the book recounts numerous stories of civil rights activism in California and the efforts of those who risked everything for freedom.

I have been reading the book in the aftermath of the Stupak Amendment and have been inspired and motivated by its amazing stories. One fight that the book highlights is the dynamic struggle Californians have fought for abortion rights.

The book tells the following story of brave pro-choice activists, which I hope will serve as a poignant reminder that ours is not the first generation to fight, and win, the battle for choice. [Read more...]

Wednesday News Roundup

rainbowmouseJust a short click list for today, since I’m playing catch up after a busy day yesterday of graduating from my creative writing program. Here’s a few pro-choice clicks to get you through your hump day.

Orrin Hatch Will Introduce Stupak in the Senate – Politics Daily
Rally Against Stupak – Stop Stupak-Pitts
10-year-old Refuses to Say Pledge of Allegiance Until Gays Can Marry – Slog