Monday, November 09, 2009

Why am I surprised?

Why Am I Not Surprised? (NaSchoWriMo/NaBloPoMo 9)

I haven't posted about the House of Representatives -- or rather, the House Democrats -- and their decision to stab the people who helped put them in office in the backs. I'm not sure I should be surprised. After all, I'm a middle-aged woman who has been voting since 1980. I've been a feminist for as long as I remember. I've seen and been a victim of misogyny and discrimination. I don't have a hell of a lot of faith in politicians in general, and I know that to get to any sort of position of power, whether elected or appointed, in government or in industry, or in academia, people often find themselves cutting deals that are pretty appalling. Apparently, that's just the price ambitious people pay -- they sell out the rest of us. After all, they are playing with the big boys, and the people they have betrayed? We're just women.

Even still, the Stupak-Pitts amendment is particularly underhanded and nasty. Not only is it a blatant attempt to keep women from having abortions, but it discriminates against poorer women and may even keep women who have miscarried or who have other medical conditions from having procedures like D&Cs, which are done in cases other than abortion. It would also prevent women whose pregnancies, whether or not they are wanted, from having abortions even if their own lives are at risk, unless they can come up with the cash to pay for them out of pocket.

I'm not debating whether or not abortion is right. I honestly don't believe that a first trimester fetus is a person, but I can't deny that it certainly has the potential to become one. I don't know what choice I would make if faced with an unplanned pregnancy, or the knowledge that I would give birth to a child that couldn't live without extraordinary care, or constant pain, or that might cost me my own life (more than the risks of a normal pregnancy, that is), or if I were raped and became pregnant. Ok, those are all pretty unlikely at my age, but they have been very real concerns for much of my life, and are still possibilities now. They are possibilities for my friends and my family and my students. I hope that none of the people I love ever have to make such choices. I wish no one did.

But here's the deal. Legally, we have that choice. It is immoral and unethical to deny that choice to one group of women in this country because they might depend on subsidies or government funding for health care. But am I surprised that women, especially poorer women, are sacrificed on the altar of a half-assed compromise that will pave the way for yet another round of Congressional back-patting while our elected representatives bask in the glow of a good circle-jerk? No, not really.

ETA: you know, if Congress is so worried about abortions, maybe they'd be better off by making reliable birth control easier to get.

1 comment:

Digger said...