Speaking of Women's Rights: Don't worry, little lady -- we'll take care of you later. Honest.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Don't worry, little lady -- we'll take care of you later. Honest.

I just can’t let go of this “abortion coverage in health care reform” issue. The more I learn, the more commentaries I read, the more enraged I get. Let me count the ways:

Quite apart from the abortion question, the reform bill passed by the House omits basic preventive care for women. Not one of the bills emerging from the House and Senate requires insurers to cover all the elements of a standard gynecological "well visit." This means the basic health care that most women need – and use, thereby helping us avoid more serious illness and disease – such as pelvic exams, domestic violence screening, counseling about sexually transmitted diseases, and, oh yes, birth control, will be off the list of basic benefits all insurers must cover. Mind you, laboratory testing of our PAP smears will probably be covered, but not the visit to the doctor who performs the test. How’s that again? Yep: be sure to send the sample to the lab, but I guess you’ll have to learn to take the sample yourself.

But back to the abortion question. Will someone please explain to me why religious organizations and ideologues get to decide what care will be covered by my insurance plan? I know, there will always be some things not covered. But how did my uterus become a bargaining chip? And why are women being castigated for ‘insisting on the perfect plan when reform is necessary’ just because we want to be able to make choices about our bodies, and have the most basic care? I know, we’re only 51% of the population, so maybe we’re just another silly special interest group, but . . . no, we’re 51% of the population, and we’re neither silly nor a special interest group. What’s more, we are really tired of being asked to ‘take one for the team’, as Katha Pollitt has said.

And let's be clear: The Stupidak (sic) ban would prohibit millions of women from using their own money to buy private health insurance that provides comprehensive health care benefits.

Not only that, but why is it that my taxes must pay for things I abhor (war, tax exemptions for religious organizations that engage in electoral politics but deny they do, obscene agribusiness subsidies) yet other people’s abhorrences are codified into federal law? There’s something fundamentally wrong there. (Pun intended.)

I know it’s an old cliché (are there such things as new clichés?) but really: just tell me, Bill Clinton and Al Franken and E.J. Dionne and all the rest of you Y chromosome people yammering about how we just have to hold our noses and accept this bill – how about if instead we preclude coverage for prostate cancer screening and treatment, vasectomies, and erectile dysfunction? You can buy a rider for those. If you can find one. And you can afford it.

Don't stand for this. Please tell your senator to STRIP THE STUPAK BAN from the Senate version of the health care bill.