Monday, November 16, 2009

H - E - Double Hockey Sticks

Beeba da Doo is starting hockey on Sunday. Even though I have been duly warned by moms who know better than me that soccer and hockey are to be avoided at all costs, as they require a great deal of travel and sitting in the cold. And hockey is expensive. We did not heed these warnings.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Other Women

I would love to read your opinion, if it offers something to the discussion, but anonymous anti-choice comments will be deleted.

Last night, the House passed its health care bill, which is awesome. But in order to pass it, an amendment effectively banning abortion coverage from the exchange was allowed. And that amendment passed. I sure hope 2 things: that it there was no way to get the bill through without it, and that it will be removed in committee. I really doubt that the former was true. I feel totally betrayed.

So what does it mean? If you don't have insurance now you will be able to purchase insurance in the exchange. But none of the plans in the exchange can provide abortion coverage. That means people who are most likely to be uninsured, the working poor, will be denied access to essential health care. Because that is what abortion is, health care. You might not agree that abortion should be option, but it is. And it is a legal medical procedure. So what are poor women to do? (Or middle class women, for that matter, just because you make $40k a year, that doesn't mean you have $500 just sitting around for a procedure.) The suggestion has been made that they could purchase an abortion rider with their own money. First of all, no such thing currently exists. It also creates barriers that just limit women's access. And it implies something that I think is at the core of the abortion debate: that there is a kind of woman who gets an abortion. And she knows who she is. The lack of abortion coverage won't be a problem for "good" women.

This is complete and total bullshit.

1 in 4 women will have an abortion. It is highly likely that we all know and love someone who has had an abortion. She is not some anonymous slut or a faceless victim of sexual assault. She is your wife, your mom, your sister, your boss. She is a kindergarten teacher, a police officer, a cashier, a college student. She is me.

But this idea that she is some other kind of women pervades the debate. On both sides.

When antis say that abortion is okay only in cases of rape and incest, this is what they are saying.

And when pro-choice women say "I believe in the right to choose, but would never have an abortion myself" they are saying another version of the same thing. We need to stop saying that. Because it doesn't matter what YOU would do. And when you say you wouldn't ever not never terminate a pregnancy, women who have had abortions hear: I am not like you. But you are. No one has "have an abortion" on their bucket list.

We HAVE to stand together on this. We can not leave poor and working women out to dry. And that is what happened last night. We said AGAIN that there are some women who do not deserve respect, dignity and the right to equal access to health care. These aren't OTHER women they/we did this to. It is us.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Spittin' Mad

So the circus is over, and only the clowns are left. If you don't watch, listen to, or read the national news, you might have missed one of the biggest stories of the last week. In short: open Congressional seat due to the appointment of the Republican incumbent to the job of Secretary of the Army. County party chairs pick the Dem and Republican candidates. They are a socially progressive Republican, and a moderate Democrat. The Republican, Dede Scozzafava, is a member of the Assembly. The Dem, Bill Owens, is a lawyer. Then along comes Doug Hoffman, a conservative. And with him came Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, Rush, and various and sundry right wing interest groups. He immediately starts attacking both Dede and Bill as liberals. He is seen as a spoiler, but soon begins gaining traction. His campaign ads are really ugly. He refuses to debate...And suddenly our local race is seen as a GOP civil war with the conservatives on the right and the moderates on the...well, in the center, I guess! So Dede is put through the ringer, drops out, and endorses Bill. Bill wins.

And I am still really angry. First, Dede was attacked for many things, some of which I consider fair game politically, though I might not agree with the attacker. Her past votes, statements made, fine. But not fair game? Her appearance. Her weight, her choice of jacket. Really. Who gives a fuck?? Second, Dede has been a supporter of gay marriage and was the only 100% pro-choice candidate. And suddenly that made her the antichrist, at least according to Hoffman. She was called a RINO (and again with the sexism - add an H and you have a joke!) Now, I am no Republican, but I do know a few (They outnumber us in this district!) And let me tell you, many of them support a woman's right to choose. And a growing number support gay marriage. As Dede herself said on the radio today, for people who think government should stay out of folks private lives, those things make sense. Lower taxes, smaller government, less interference. And third, now another local assembly member is being attacked for supporting Dede and having similar stances on those two issues.

What I find surprising is that Hoffman's folks clearly didn't read up on the "parochial" issues of the district and how we roll here. But someone should have pointed out that as you move from the southeast corner of the district up to the north and west here are the women we in the 23rd liked enough to elect to the Assembly: Teresa Sayward (R) pro-choice and pro-gay marriage. Janet Duprey (R) pro-choice and pro-gay marriage and growing more so by the day (and by the way, she is also getting to be one of my personal heroes.) Dede Scozzafava (R) pro-choice and pro-gay marriage, Addie Russell (D) pro-choice and pro-gay marriage.

That's right. We have lots of gun-toting, pick up driving Republicans around here. And I have learned that many of them want the government to leave them, their uterus, and their gay brother alone.

So, goodbye circus. Good luck, Bill Owens. You have some learning to do, but hopefully our Republican neighbors can convince you to support public funding of abortion and gay marriage.