No Rescue From Democratic Misogyny

by: Natasha Chart

Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 11:30

Thank Digby for reminding us how different the health care debate was when Democrats weren't ashamed of women. See, when Hillary Clinton was First Lady, it was all right to fight for women's access to a full range of reproductive healthcare services. Democrats weren't embarassed by that then, but times have changed.

In the House, Rep. Bart Stupak is trying to both effectively ban insurance coverage for abortion and enact a back door parental/spousal consent law that would apply to the whole country. How's that again?

In sum, the current House bill includes the Capps amendment, explained here by Rep. Lois Capps. I'm not a fan of the Capps amendment, this bill's exemplification of Democratic cowardice in defending women's rights, but one thing anyone with decent reading comprehension can gather is that it forbids federal funding for abortion by continuing the existing ban on same (the same ban that Obama now regards as a hallowed tradition, never to be challenged.) Rep. Stupak has lied, saying that the Capps amendment mandates federal abortion coverage, when it only says that at least one plan covering abortion must be available in the exchange alongside one that doesn't.

As has been pointed out repeatedly, because the majority of private plans now cover abortion, the Capps amendment is a step backward.

Stupak's main lie, popular among misogynists, is that because money is fungible, no effective barrier can be set up between federal premium dollars and coverage for abortion. This was flatly contradicted by the testimony of counsel to the Senate Finance Committee when they were marking up their version of health coverage reform. The Senators were told that not only was it possible to separate the funds, but existing plans already do this in relation to other restrictions on the use of federal money for health care.

Stupak's insistence, based on this lie, is that all women purchasing coverage on the national insurance exchange have to get separate riders for abortion coverage. This will effectively mean that all women on their family insurance plans would have to negotiate with their husband or parents directly and in advance for access to abortion services. Considering that most of the third of American women (around 16%, or a sixth, of the overall population) who have, or will have, abortions didn't expect to be needing them, it's rarely going to sound like a good use of family funds and could pose a serious problem for people who don't have sane, unconditionally loving families.

Stupak's rule will likely have much of the same chilling effect as a spousal and parental consent law. Also, it will further stigmatize those who've had abortions, by singling out women who need the procedure. Even though the lifetime likelihood of having an abortion is nearly twice, among women, the lifetime risk of prostate cancer in men, and not much less than a woman's lifetime chances of getting diabetes.

A Capitol Hill source confirmed to me that if the House bill is opened to amendments on the floor, leadership expects that conservative Democrats and Republicans will combine forces to enact Stupak's ban on abortion coverage in the insurance exchange. If the bill goes to the floor under a closed rule, no amendments allowed, Bart Stupak will have had a lot to do with it.

(More in the extended entry)

Natasha Chart :: No Rescue From Democratic Misogyny
Adding insult to injury, birth control isn't on the list of essential services insurers are required to cover in a basic plan. Thanks, House and Senate! Probably another nod to the religous right, who also hate contraception.

For his part, Obama is merely sorry this divisive issue has to get people "distracted" from such an important debate. Obama's former Senate colleagues consider reproductive health a pain in the buttocks, with Reid having joined Obama in calling for a conscience clause in the bill. (Conscience clauses, btw, are also known as career plans for the extremely lazy.)

If the final bill shakes out as it looks like it's going to, it will be hard for me ever again not to think of Democrats as enablers for abusive partners who get their wives or girlfriends pregnant as a means of control, because their idea of a defense of women's rights to control their bodies has come down to an embarassed, apologetic shuffling of feet.  

Update: Being a woman is not a cause. Also.

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Jesus wept. (4.00 / 3)

Montani semper liberi

But see, women aren't people. (4.00 / 3)
They're vessels. See the difference?

Representation (4.00 / 3)
Maybe, someday, woman will be allowed to vote, run for congress and even, someday long from now, have someone representing them directly as the Speaker of the House.  I know, it's a dream, but hang in there, it will happen some day!

Seriously, though, wtf is wrong with this party?  I get how tons of stuff gets mangled and abused when large, high-stakes bills like this are being written, but isn't this a central part of what Democrats stand for?

Well, Matt Yglesias just went over this, r.e. dreaminonempty's map here: (4.00 / 2)
"Progressive politics is badly disadvantaged by a situation in which the overwhelming majorities of political leaders and prominent media figures are white men. There are plenty of white men with progressive views, but in general the majority of white men are not progressive and the majority of progressives are not white men. Drawing from the relatively small pool of white male progressives means drawing from a shallow talent pool."

Link: http://yglesias.thinkprogress....

[ Parent ]
Why, Yes It Is Mark (4.00 / 2)
Which is precisely why it has to be mangled and abused.

Because if the base gets too uppity, Versailles loses.

So the base can never get anything it regards as fundamental. Never, never, ever.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
If they give us an inch . . . (4.00 / 2)
the elites understand this is war. When is the base going to figure it out?

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
And the bottom line is ... (4.00 / 2)
Last week on Olbermann and Maddow, I saw both Howard Dean and Anthony Wiener saying that we now had a good deal.  They thought a final deal had been cut and, rather than pushing a hard progressive line on its weaknesses, they were in full P.T. Barnum gear.  Their deal had been cut.

On the public option, progressive House members had made noises to the effect that if public option wasn't included, they would vote against the bill and shoot it down.

The only way this bullshit will be stopped is if progressives once again draw the line.  They should be hammered on this starting now.  I don't believe this amendment can stand the light of day, but if it's in the final bill, that bill should die.  This is at least as bad as the lack of a strong public option.

Wiener and other so-called progressive House members should be hammered on this.

Full Court Press!

Isn't Stupak's stupid amendment just another way (4.00 / 1)
of bringing the bill to the floor without worrying about other amendments as well?

I mean, if they are afraid of Stupak's amendment being adopted, they won't let any amendment be adopted, including ones that could strengthen the public option.

Rather than ride herd on Stupak, they use his threat of an amendment to push the bill through "as is" without adding anything to it that might make it a better bill.

Probably (4.00 / 1)
I mean, it's a real threat and all, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were also just very convenient.

Nonetheless, no strengthening of the public option would make up for losing abortion coverage in all insurance plans, imo. I'd consider it damn near unforgivable.

[ Parent ]
Probably (0.00 / 0)
I mean, it's a real threat and all, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were also just very convenient.

Nonetheless, no strengthening of the public option would make up for losing abortion coverage in all insurance plans, imo. I'd consider it damn near unforgivable.

[ Parent ]
agreed (0.00 / 0)
it's about as poisoned a pill as you could find.

[ Parent ]
Bill Clinton did not include the Hyde amendment in his budgets (4.00 / 3)
Barack Obama put the Hyde amendment in his budget....even after negotiating with some pro choice groups that he would follow the principles set by the only other Democratic president since the Hyde amendment passed in 1977.

(For those who don't know, the Hyde amendment prohibits funds for abortion for POOR women under Medicaid)

Congress, being anti choice, added it yearly as a rider.

Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton didn't think it was a sacrosanct federal tradition.

When you send that message, as you did when you tell Henry Waxman to remove contraception from the stimulus bill,  we may see millions of American women lose access to abortion.  

Under a Demcoratic president who portrayed himself as a pro choice champion, but who has acted either negatively or indifferently,  we could have one of the biggest defeats on the issue of choice in many a year.

Irony or ironies....those present votes...indicated an abscence of commitment.

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"

For reasons that I'm sure you find obvious ... (4.00 / 4)
I've been replaying conversations in my head with Obama supporters over and over where they kind of brushed off the issue of choice, particularly youngish guys. It always drove me crazy how it made their eyes glaze over.

Their support for him was always 'about the war.' Oh, and hey, how's that working out?

[ Parent ]
Sadly I had women who were furious that the Clinton campaign made an issue of his "present" votes (4.00 / 1)
I know pro choice women...who just thought he was a champion on choice.  

They believed that he was very pro choice.....

There were so many young feminists who thought that being a women was irrelevant in terms of seeing and understanding the world the same way they did.

Sometimes I just felt people didn't understand how to read between the lines.  They didn't understand the political use of deliberate ambiguity.  Who didn't understand ambiguity in general and how a statement is made, how one statement does not totally negate other issues of concern.

Frankly I would sometimes just engage in arguments with people, esp at other blogs, over simple grammaticial and semantical meanings .

They believed what they wanted to believe....positively about him and negatively, after years of mudslinging,  about either Clinton (they're doing it to Obama now)

I am absolutly certain about this isssue ....Hillary Clinton would not have backed down on including all of women's reproductive health care rights in any piece of legislation. From stimulus funding to the health care bill.

And yes some young men, just as with the Vietnam War, have based their liberalism on their opposition to the/a war. I always felt that a progressive movement based on external issues like a war, is not a sturdy or long lasting enough of a foundation to build a sustainable progressive movement.  History has proven that to be correct.  I also thought the differences about how they would conduct foreign policy in the future, if they were elected, was nominal.  

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"

[ Parent ]

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