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Is Freedom Only for Men?


That’s the first question I’d ask the right. After all, they’re the ones that dragged us into this mess in the first place.

…and by “right,” I mean both Republicans and Democrats, because women have clearly got enemies on our side these days.

If the answer is no, then I’d say that ends it for Stupak-Pitts and any language close to it becoming law.

…and we haven’t even gotten to the part about the Senate bill not covering basic gynecological exams like pap smears. Want to bet Viagra is still covered? That prostate exams are covered? From Nancy Folbre:

Neither of the bills currently before either the House or Senate mandates coverage of contraceptive services, pelvic exams or counseling for sexually transmitted diseases.

You hear a lot about freedom from the right, people like Rush, Sean, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. But they need to explain to me if a woman doesn’t have 100% control over her body what freedom actually exists for her.

More from Nancy Folbre of the New York Times:

What Professor Levine terms “minor restrictions” on abortion keep piling up. The Hyde amendment, passed by Congress in 1976, prohibited expenditures of federal funds spent by Health and Human Services on abortions. The prohibition has since been extended to health insurance covering federal employees, patients of the Indian Health Service and women in the military.

Twenty-four states require a waiting period of 24 hours between counseling and the procedure, which is especially onerous if a woman must travel a long way to find a clinic. In 2005, abortion services were not available in 87 percent of counties in the United States.

Currently, five states (Idaho, Kentucky, Missouri, North Dakota and Oklahoma) restrict private insurance coverage for abortions except in the case of rape, incest or to save the mother’s life.

I can already hear the “abortion on demand” health care debate gear up, an insult for any woman, because it assumes we’re all irresponsible cretins that don’t understand our responsibilities. Yes, there are a very tiny few who abuse rights, including irresponsible men, but they aren’t the average. Like every U.S. citizens in this country, the freedom women have won through the courts to have control over our own bodies comes with serious responsibilities, which includes men as well where sex is concerned. No one is suggesting that women’s freedoms and civil rights excludes following reasonable laws. But anything that impedes our ability to have control over our bodies is trampling on our freedoms.

The next question I’d ask the right is whether poor women should be allowed the same freedoms as women of means. Because once you make money the bargaining chip for full freedoms, civil rights have been denied. So, what happens when a poor woman can’t pay for an abortion herself, but is denied insurance for this procedure because the new insurance exchanges set up deny coverage, because of Stupak-Pitts, and Hyde?

We’ve got a serious problem that has wormed it’s way into the debate, because Democrats have abandoned the fight for women’s civil rights, which includes access and means to exercise our rights as provided by the law.

As the health care debate heats up, this is the bottom line question: Is freedom only for men?

What’s the answer? You hear from many that the issue of women’s civil rights, otherwise known as the abortion debate, is just a “distraction.” That it’s silly to talk about full reproductive health care access for women when health care reform is at stake.

The question I have for Democrats on the right willing to sell women out is why are you making us refight battles we’ve won in the courts? The most stunning chapter added by the first female Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who bet that women’s rights could be saved “down the line,” as long as she was able to get this “win” on health care reform. That Democrats in the House allowed it to happen shows the naivete on our side, as the right continues their assault on women’s rights.

Don’t worry about tomorrow for the sacrifices you make today. However, if Hyde has taught us anything it’s that Stupak-Pitts was coming, it was just a matter of time. Speaker Pelosi became the wind beneath the right’s wings.

To get past the never ending seesaw over abortion Democrats have to lead, beginning with the argument that the law is clear and women have the right to have 100% control over our bodies, within guidelines already set down by law, which many states have already taken too far. Limiting access is ignoring the rights we’ve won, forcing us into a situation where these rights have been obliterated.

Why isn’t anyone daring to argue that the Hyde Amendment should be repealed, because it assaults women’s rights, especially poor women? Because the poor don’t vote or vote in very small numbers. Catholic Bishops and right-wing groups have more power, because they have more money, buying off the rights of women with the aid of spineless legislators.

What good is a right if you have no access to exercise it? If women have the right to have an abortion, but cannot pay for it, don’t have access to insurance to help, or can’t find doctors to counsel on full reproductive and sexual disease counseling and treatment, what do the victories for privacy and through Roe v. Wade actually mean?

Would men ever bargain their own personal freedoms away?

Why are we asking women to do just that, sacrificing themselves and generations of women who came before us and fought for the rights gradually dying?

Megan McArdle of the Atlantic is painfully and predictably nonchalant, not even bothering to realize that she wrote the following: The women who genuinely can’t afford $500 bucks for an abortion are the women closest to the poverty line. Those women will be covered by Medicare, and they won’t get abortion coverage anyway in most states. … um… I make mistakes too, but thinking about a Medicare recipient and abortion shouldn’t be one of them, especially from someone that writes regularly on this subject. The whole narrative of a woman who “genuinely can’t afford $500 bucks” dripping in elitism. But Megan isn’t worried; no one in her comfy Atlantic audience will be impacted. Ms. McArdle is an example of why we’ve gone from Griswold to Roe to Hyde to Stupak-Pitts, with reproductive services to be harder and harder to get. I doubt it would phase her if abortion coverage couldn’t be found in the exchanges either, even as she ignores there’s hardly a built in market for a procedure that is purely unexpected.

No one should be willing to give up women’s freedoms already won and laid down in U.S. law, let alone women. But today, from our cozy liberated seats, some are doing just that. The Hyde Amendment was the beginning and Stupak-Pitts is further denial of the right’s ultimate goal, now aided by the left. To do through congressional amendments what they can’t do through the courts: deny women 100% control over their own body, with full access to whatever we need to protect our civil rights.

That the Senate bill doesn’t even cover basic women’s health reproductive issues shouldn’t shock anyone, least of all people like Megan McArdle. Women are used to sacrificing ourselves to the greater good, even expected to do it, so what’s a little more, right?

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