Originally posted at Empowher.
It was a big day Saturday, as the United States House of Representatives passed a healthcare bill that would be a foundational step for people all over the country who don’t have access to health insurance. It was a sad day too, because they did it on the backs of women’s reproductive health.
The Stupak Amendment was attached to the bill, and passed in the House, thanks to 176 anti-choice Republicans and 64 anti-choice Democrats. What a great day for women. Not.
What did the amendment say? The provision, put forth by Democratic congressman Bart Stupak of Michigan, would prohibit public money from being spent on any healthcare plan that covers abortion even if it was paid for with private dollars. The amendment would restrict women’s abortion coverage in the private health insurance market because many of the insurance providers will stop offering abortion coverage. This is a devastating and dangerous blow to the reproductive health of all women, but specifically low-income women and women of color, who are the likeliest candidates to depend on the public option or federal subsidies for reproductive health.
Though the healthcare bill that passed is a step forward in some respects, it’s not fair to categorize it as a victory. It’s terrifying to think that there is even a possibility that the Stupak Amendment will make it to the final health care bill, though some have expressed that the amendment will probably die in committee.
Reproductive justice, in the words of the leaders of the Sistersong Conference in DC, is simple to understand: It’s the right to have a child, the right not to have a child, and the right to parent a child. Who doesn’t deserve this right? Stripping away our access to safe and affordable healthcare simply because we are the category of humans capable of reproduction is disgusting and unfair. We need our rights furthered, not taken away even more.