Sunday, December 06, 2009

More Like This, Please

Congress continues the glacial pace on its idea of health care reform, but there are some signals that progressive Democrats are mobilizing on at least one aspect, the Stupak Amendment, which bars any federal money being used for abortions, including federal subsidies for insurance. One of those leading what may be a House rebellion on the issue is California's Lois Capps of Santa Barbara.

Congresswoman Capps tried to head off the issue right from the start by offering an amendment consistent with the gawdawful Hyde Amendment, but which indicated that among the pool of policies available for the subsidies there had to be at least one which covered abortion and one which did not. This was a compromise I didn't especially appreciate at the time, but I now see why she offered it. It got through committee, but was dropped in favor of the Stupak disaster.

Ms. Capps, however, has not given up the fight, according to the Sacramento Bee:

She's one of the most liberal members of the U.S. House, a longtime advocate of universal health care. She says she's thrilled to be a member of a Congress on the verge of passing a historic overhaul of the nation's health care system, legislation that she says was first proposed by President Teddy Roosevelt and that "means everything to me."

In a high-stakes battle, she's also threatening to vote against the bill because one issue is even more important to her: abortion. ...

Capps, of Santa Barbara, is one of 40 lawmakers threatening to derail the legislation if a House-Senate conference committee does not remove language that would restrict access to abortions. ...

"The stakes are now really high and the advocates are going to make all of the difference in the world," said Capps, attending a standing-room-only abortion-rights rally and standing in front of a bright orange and white sign that said "Abortion Is Health Care." She drew loud applause when she announced: "I am one who cannot even envision voting for health care reform that takes us back on women's rights."
[Emphasis added]

Congresswoman Capps is being joined in the fight by Senator Barbara Boxer, also of California:

California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, part of a team of women leading the abortion fight in the Senate, said abortion-rights backers will defeat Stupak's amendment, but she said it's a fight that they had hoped to avoid.

"We didn't ask for it," she said. "We didn't look for it. But now that we're in it, we will win it."

I'm proud of both of these women and the other women in Congress for taking this on, and of the sensible men joining them in this fight.

Being proud is one thing, but that's not enough. Get on the horn and let your reps know that abortion is a legal medical procedure and to foreclose insurance coverage for that legal medical procedure is an abomination. If any of them is coming up for re-election next November (I'm looking at you, Jane Harman), then let them know that the financial and volunteer support they might have gotten from you will not happen without a vote removing the Stupak Amendment. If there's primary challenger, point out which direction your efforts will go, and make it clear that you will follow through. Then get your sisters, mothers, girlfriends, daughters, and wives to make the same kind of call.

Just do it.

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