He Took My Lunch Money, Or, Why Women Need Full Health Care

by: Natasha Chart

Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 08:00

Once more, with feeling ...

I'm not the only woman in the country who once had a partner who took my paychecks and deposited them in an account that I had no access to; not by debit card, not by checkbook. That started the first year we were married, when I was 18 and I balanced our checkbook wrong. Did I get to revoke his bank privileges later on when he would be late with rent, didn't pay our utility bills, or threw money away on expensive outings and crazy schemes? No.

Years later, at 22, I still had to ask for lunch money every week to take to work, something he'd often conveniently forget about if he was in a bad mood. He was often in a bad mood. My workweek lunch money regularly came out of the change jar and only covered vending machine snacks.

If I'd had a child from that relationship, one way or another, it would have meant two decades of that creep still messing with my head on a daily basis--a fate I was saved from only by a miscarriage brought on by a 2 lb. ovarian cyst, which my Catholic hospital doctor told me couldn't be operated on unless I did miscarry on my own--so lucky me. And he only hit me once in five years, threatened and starved me, so I didn't have it nearly as bad as some of the women for whom the Senate abortion coverage restrictions might as well be a hand covering their mouths and holding them down.

The fact is that reproductive coercion, including sabotaging of birth control, pressuring partners into unprotected sex and outright rape are part of the regular toolkit of abusers who want to keep a partner tightly under their thumb. The term "rape exception" in abortion law circles seems to lead people to think that coercive sex is exceptional, unusual, even if women are supposed to always be expecting it, but coercive sex is a common part of many women's experiences and a third of us will be abused in our lifetimes.

Most women's abusive partners don't outright prostitute them to strangers, but the daily shame, the degradation, the emotional abuse and complete control are the same from the garden variety misogynist legislator to the patriarchal childbirth fetishist.

Under the Senate system which makes abortion part of the initial purchasing decision, a woman's employer, male partner or parents can all potentially prevent her getting insurance coverage for it, whereas now, it usually doesn't come up because most private plans just cover it. Now, of the one in three women likely to need an abortion in her life, millions of women never have to have that conversation. Under the current wording of the health bill, that second check is the federal spousal and parental notification law that never managed to pass.

Then if the administrative expenses and familial approval weren't enough, the second check creates a stigmatizing paper trail for anyone worried about public pressure or vulnerable to retribution by disapproving superiors. Even people who might support abortion might be pressured into dropping plans that cover it and one way or another, abortion coverage will end. That's always been the point of both the Stupak amendment and Nelson's Senate compromise, which will simply work more slowly to eradicate insurance coverage of abortion.

And you might say, well, it's just writing another check for $1. Or you might say, hey, even if the insurance doesn't cover abortion, lots of women will still be able to afford it. And then I'll tell you, look, you don't get it, that's not the point.

Because he used to take my lunch money, and I had nothing, nothing, that he would not allow, no matter what our household income was.

Women, who earn less, who are commonly responsible for the most time-consuming parts of the parenting saga, who are discriminated against by their employers for being parents, who are more likely to be abused, who bear all the health risks of pregnancy and childbirth, can never be fully equal in a society that doesn't prioritize and normalize our access to all forms of reproductive health care. When our health care is stigmatized, we are stigmatized. When it seems normal that men we don't know get to decide if we'll be forced into a two decade commitment, it's only natural that men we do know might think they have the right to decide that for us, too.

If you still want to pass this health insurance reform bill, and I understand why so many people do, understand the cost. Somewhere, right now, he's taking her lunch money, and this bill will let him force her into motherhood, too.

Natasha Chart :: He Took My Lunch Money, Or, Why Women Need Full Health Care

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Thanks for sharing your story. (4.00 / 6)
I am tired of taking one for the team.

Montani semper liberi

This is powerful writing. (4.00 / 3)
This needs wide wide distribution. Powerful stuff. Get it to the Nation or such, it needs reading in every home.

Congratulations, well done.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

Get it to FDL (4.00 / 2)
The Nation loves Obama Profitcare, and they don't seem to interested in a woman's right to choose now they can snuggle up to Obama and gain "access."

[ Parent ]
This Ain't The Last Word! (4.00 / 2)
Don't kid yourself! This is only the BEGINNING of Health Care Reform. Because of course it's not going to work! It's a very marginal bill that will reduce costs by $1 trillion over 10 years (over what the insane insurance giants WOULD have charged without it!) So, at most it buys us a little time before the system collapses under it's own weight.

Ergo: HCR is going to have to be revisited again and again no matter what the insurance industry wants until we get national health insurance. Period.

The right-wing doesn't have an alternative either. Their alternative is "get used to not having health care because your health care is not my problem!" Together with "we can't afford it!"

Well, that's not a message that will ultimately sell very well against a message that "health care is a right!" Which would you vote for?

Obama never bothered to make the case for universal health care insurance -- it was off the table from day 1. Will that always be the case? Not if we don't accept it!

The rest of the world has PUBLIC health insurance and universal health care. WE don't.

So, when "exchanges" and "buy-ins" and all other "market mechanisms" fail as they must what then?

That's really the benefit of this entire reform effort, to demonstrate conclusively that "free markets" cannot solve this problem. Period.

Obama PUNTED any SERIOUS attempt to deal with the problem from day one by taking Medicare for all off the table and not mobilizing a full scale grass-roots lobbying effort to get it passed.

That's like if the patient has cancer devoting a full year to arguing whether to apply leaches or not! Republicans say: "Leaches are the Devil's work! Just say 'no!' to leaches!" Democrats say: "We're willing to compromise and have fewer leaches if that will buy us bi-partisan support."

Only leaches are just not going to cut it. So, in a few years we're just going to have to go back to square one. The United States simply cannot have health care that is only affordable for millionaires and everybody else just dies in the gutter, no matter what the Wall Street Journal might think -- but that is exactly where we're heading under the current system as health care just gets more and more expensive and unavailable for everybody not named Bill Gates.

[ Parent ]
Medicare for all (4.00 / 5)
Yeah, the government needs to stop discriminating against younger people and let us participate in the most efficiently run health coverage program in the country. I shouldn't have to have to wait 30 years for that, and neither should anyone else.

And to bring other people's concerns to the table, unemployment is hitting the 55-64 crowd really hard right now, which isn't helped by the fact that they're generally more expensive to insure. They should at the very least have lowered the eligibility age to reflect this reality of the private healthcare market and the way it prejudices employers against those in less-than-perfect health.

[ Parent ]
I want, no, demand, universal puiblic health care. (0.00 / 0)
This set of conservatives, found in both parties, and corrupt sellouts, is incapable of voting for this. That means we have to build a stronger voting block and electorate for that. So don't think I am supporting non-free, non universal, non-public care when I say that
The rest of the world has PUBLIC health insurance and universal health care. WE don't.
is far from true. The list of nations that provide "free" universal care is smaller, and the number of countries that have only public care, for example where it is illegal to pay for care, is smaller still again.
Here is a short introduction from wikipedia:
Most developed countries currently have partially or fully publicly funded health systems. For example, each country of the United Kingdom has a National Health Service (NHS). Other examples would be the Medicare systems in Canada and in Australia. In most countries of Europe, a system of social insurance based on the principle of social solidarity shields the citizen from bearing the burden of most health care expenditures at the time of consumption. The citizen contributes to these costs in taxation during his or her lifetime.

Among countries with significant public funding of health care there are many different approaches exist to the funding and provision of medical services. Systems may be funded from general government revenues (as in the United Kingdom and Canada), or through a government social security system (as in France, Belgium, Japan, and Germany) with a separate budget and hypothecated taxes. The proportion of the cost of care covered also differs: in Canada, all hospital care is paid for by the government, while in Japan patients must pay 10 to 30% of the cost of a hospital stay. Services provided by public systems vary. For example, the Belgian government pays the bulk of the fees for dental and eye care, while the Australian government covers eye care, but not dental.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
Just like No Child Let Behind (4.00 / 1)
We have certainly gotten that one tweaked a lot, haven't we?

Obama is an arsehole.

[ Parent ]
I agree, Natasha (4.00 / 4)
Thanks for posting this. Wish it could get wider distribution. Courage!

I Second That!!! (4.00 / 3)
this is very powerful...intelligently written yet emotionally disturbing on many levels.  Senators and Congressman want to write bills that make them popular to their constituents.  The problem is they don't really take the time to know who their constituents are.  

With Natasha's permission, I would like to copy and paste this heartfelt testimonial and forward it to my Congressman and Senator.  

Well, it's public, so ... (4.00 / 1)
Forward away.

[ Parent ]
with attribution of course, and a direct link to the article (0.00 / 0)


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
Thank you Natasha (4.00 / 5)
For your consistently excellent writing on what's at stake in what some deplorably consider to be a 'pet issue'.

I should also add that undocumented and documented immigrants, who some of us continue to consider legitimate people, knowing them and having enjoyed their company, were so thrust under the bus as to have even been simply ignored by those lambasting 'extremist posturing' (http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/03/05/all_dems_including_progressives_need_to_back_obama/) by anti corporate hegemony (single-payer) advocates, reproductive rights advocates, and forced childbirth advocates (all equated as equally extreme) when objections continued to be raised.

I am completely disgusted by the cavalier attitude 'our' party continues to display in abandoning and shitting on the people who trusted them.

Figuring out how to be a progressive college graduate transplant to Ohio:  http://citizenobie.wordpress.com/

You're right (4.00 / 5)
I never could understand what the deal was with all the immigrant hate. They come here in almost every case to work, and they generally work very hard, and they hold up whole sectors of our economy. They're just people trying to get by, trying to make their lives better.

The rank hypocrisy is pretty appalling, too. Because if the immigrants came more than 50 years ago, and they were from Europe, and they're your ancestors or the ancestors of someone important, then it's all 'lamp above the golden door' and entrepreneurial initiative, etc.

Anyone who isn't actually a Native American is an immigrant, and damn if the indigenous people of Mexico and Central America didn't beat my ancestors here by about 10,000 years, give or take. I have no business at all lording it over them about some arbitrary 'prior' claim.

Let them in. Let them in. Let them in. We should be flattered that people still want to come here, it's high praise.

[ Parent ]
Seriously (4.00 / 2)
If you like eating here (with pretty legit caveats on the disaster of industrial agriculture), it's next to impossible to avoid our reliance on what is a wholly underappreciated and literally chemically poisoned community.  Also the case if you enjoy eating at restaurants or partaking of huge other sections of our food economy, or any other manner of services that we extract from these people.

Related- National Council of La Raza supports the House version but not the Senate.


Figuring out how to be a progressive college graduate transplant to Ohio:  http://citizenobie.wordpress.com/

[ Parent ]
Nope, don't get it. (1.60 / 5)
I read the amendments.  They say that there will be no coverages in the insurance exchanges for elective abortions.  

I don't see why limiting coverage for an elective procedure that costs a few hundred dollars should spark such outrage.  I understand that certain groups are trying to scare everyone into thinking that the words just don't mean what they say and all women will be forced to get coathanger abortions, or that there is an agenda behind the words.  But I've read the words, and it can't be any plainer.  

But regardless of whether this limits all abortions, as some are falsely claiming, or only elective abortions, as is the clear intent, it has nothing whatsoever to do with domestic violence or controlling boyfriends.

There are many ways to deal with domestic violence, but health insurance laws are one of them.  There isn't any social program or legislation that is going to help you with an asshole boyfriend or husband.  You made a bad choice.  You learned from that bad choice, and you wouldn't put yourself in the same situation again.  That is the essence of personal responsibility: you try to make better choices.  The fact that many people make the same bad choice doesn't mean that the world needs to accept the consequences of those bad choices and bend healthcare legislation around them.

All I "get" is that you want to promote a voluntary choice as victimhood, so you can get coverage for another voluntary choice, an elective abortion.  

Comprehensive coverage (4.00 / 4)
If a woman can get to her doctor and all the things she might need are simply covered in her insurance and provided by her regular ob/gyn, it removes a significant barrier to access and the freedom to at least make her own medical decisions, whether the problem she faces is lack of funds or decreased freedom of movement.

And in fact, the Violence Against Women Act, which funds domestic violence shelters and counseling among other things, has helped a lot of women escape bad situations even when they had little in the way of resources. Vice President Biden carried the torch for VAWA for years until it was passed, because it took a long time for him to convince others on Capitol Hill that this was a real problem.

Lastly, being poor is something conservatives often characterize as a 'choice', which is as ignorant as it is cruel. People don't generally choose to be poor, to be laid off, to grow up in economically depressed areas, to attend schools that poorly prepare them for the workforce, to be abused, to be systematically discriminated against in their salaries. These are not generally willing choices, they're simply unalterable facts of life for many people. When people don't have money, your position is that they're stuck, and if they do have enough money they're worthy of getting to make real choices. Which is great for people who have money.

But 'screw you, I've got mine,' is one of my least favorite political philosophies, while the healthy, glibertarian males who are its most common proponents are often of the Bush sort, born on third base and think they hit a triple. Maybe someday, you'll figure out what life is really like for people, get some compassion. Until then, you're going to be stuck being a jerk, which is sad for you.

[ Parent ]
Missing the point (0.00 / 0)
This doesn't have anything whatsoever with "screw you, I've got mine."  It is at best tangentially related to poverty.

We are talking about an exclusion for elective abortions in a health insurance regulation - people paying for a product in a market.  Public monies for abortion or aid to the poor is a different question.

Maybe if I number my paragraphs, you will follow:

1.  The Stupak Amendment excludes elective abortions from the exchange.  It allows supplemental policies to be issued outside the exchange.  It allows coverage for abortions due to rape or incest or medical reasons.  It also does not affect money offered by states.  Do we agree on what it says (we can disagree on its effects, as I mention below)?  If we don't, I can link it.

2.  Since fewer than 20% of abortions are paid for by insurance, we are talking about a pretty small slice of the pie.  Abortion is a $500 to $700 procedure, and not something that most women seek more than once in their lives.  As a portion of the market, or medical expenses the average person pays over their lifetime, we are talking peanuts.  Polls consistently show that most people don't want public money to pay for elective abortion.  

3.  The amendment's effects are subject to some disagreement.  Some want to say that the amendment will scare insurers into offering NO abortion coverage at all, even when a woman's life is endangered or the other exclusions apply.  Supposedly the tentacles of the exchanges will squeeze abortion coverage out of all policies, even those not in the exchange.  Except, of course, that those saying this also acknowledge there are women who will pay money for this coverage, and the insurers are greedy vultures who will find any excuse to charge an extra premium.  What I find most troubling about this argument is that no solution is ever offered - there is apparently no language whatsoever that could have the effect of simply limiting elective abortions in the exchanges, and no one offers an alternative that is better crafted to achieve the same result.  It isn't that Stupak has an agenda, but that there is apparently NO way, in their view, that the goal of Stupak of excluding elective abortions and only elective abortions can be achieved.  

4.  The fact of the matter is that this coverage will be available outside the exchanges.  The fact is also that the amendment contemplates supplemental policies can be written.  Again, I don't believe those who say that for some reason, the greedy insurers won't capitalize on this market.  

5.  Apparently getting a supplemental policy will require writing two checks.  Now, I can understand the claim that this is a hassle and disparate treatment and sexism.  To which I say, Hey, this is a tiny slice of the market that provides at most a $1000 lifetime benefit.  If you all want this ridiculous set of new regulations, as you seem to, what's the huge deal about writing two checks - that is, if you are one of the 20% of women who use this benefit at all, and if you are choosing the exchange (Doesn't Obama say again and again you will have choices galore?  Why don't you believe him?).

6.  Apparently all these options aren't good enough to remove your sense of being oppressed by the patriarchy.  Because not only are some women abused, some women won't be permitted by their controlling boyfriends or husbands to write two checks!  Apparently one form of domestic violence is a forced breeding regimen.  OK, I believe that this happens in this ugly world.  So, now we are talking about the percentage of that original 20% who are subject to long term domestic violence of this particular variety so they can't write those two checks and can't buy insurance outside the exchange and can't scrape up $500 in the worst case to have an abortion without his knowledge.  THOSE women will be denied their constitutional rights!  I THINK that's who you are talking about.  I don't know what percentage of women we are down to, but it's got to be tiny.  You're down to arguing that Stupak will oppress .05% of women.  Am I wrong here?

7.  Except it isn't Stupak who is oppressing these .05%.  It's their boyfriends/husbands and, yes, their own bad choices.  These women are infantilized by their partners.  Do you not see the problem with writing laws - not laws on domestic violence, but laws on insurance - based on the assumption that ALL women should be treated as infants, and UNABLE TO WRITE TWO CHECKS, because a tiny sliver of the female population is infantilized in their relationships.  Do you not see that carrying a victim mentality into every decision, so no matter how many choices you are given, it amounts to no choice - is demeaning to everyone and undermines personal responsibility?

I would be pleasantly surprised by a rational, cogent response to what I think are very reasonable points.

[ Parent ]
Well, Ms Chart (0.00 / 0)
It appears I was run off the board.  Looks like "open" left is as "open" as "free" republic is "free."

But, in the future, consider how your posts will be taken by outsiders to your community.  And maybe consider your assumptions about those who disagree with you.

I didn't say "screw" anybody.  I didn't say poverty was a choice.  I said that women bear some measure of responsibility for being in bad relationships.  Now, you may disagree with my statement, or think I'm a sexist, but my statement isn't what you portrayed it to be.

And perhaps consider how this clamoring within the liberal ranks plays to those outside.  Stupak wants to limit elective abortions in the exhanges, and you would think that he suggested that the Pope be put in charge of DHHS.  You seem to be arguing that writing two checks isn't just an insult or injustice, but oppression.  After all the talk about choice, it appears you can still buy a private plan outside the exchange or buy a supplemental within the exchange - but still it's outright oppression, because some women are in bad relationships.  And whether you think that the woman is 5% or 100% responsible for being in that relationship, if more women made different choices, more women would be able to write two checks.  Now, needing to change society to encourage women to make better choices is one thing.  But the problem isn't health insurance here, or Stupak, or the public's distaste for elective abortion - it's individuals.

Anyway, I am sorry for the troubles you have had and I wish you the best.  Hope your community lives up to its name one day.

[ Parent ]
"I am sorry for the troubles you have had " (4.00 / 1)
"But I am willing to make laws that put people in jail who try and give you the same assistance a man with a hangnail would get in any sane country. But don't worry I can still the arrogance flowing through my veins so too bad for you."

I am just translating CW of course. Any errors in my translation are due to assuming honest intent on the posters part. That assumption has never been found useful, but it is applied because my mom taught me to.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
Jail? (0.00 / 0)
Where did I say anyone should be put in jail?

Where did I even say that women shouldn't be able to purchase health insurance that covers elective abortion?

Where did I say, as the poster below claims, that men are victims?

No where.  I'm branded a sociopath because I think that it is something less than oppression if elective abortion is excluded from certain policies, but available in other policies and supplemental policies, and that domestic violence is a separate issue from abortion or health insurance.

I appreciate the thread being re-opened.  I don't mind hostility.  I'd just appreciate a little more accuracy in the hostility.

[ Parent ]
"It appears I was run off the board" (4.00 / 1)
"Hope your community lives up to its name someday."

Are you trying to tell us you whine like that ALL THE TIME? Not just when you are feeling particulary victimized?

Man it must suck to be you.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
The thread was closed by people rating my comments (0.00 / 0)
That's a fact.

That isn't because I'm a male, and I didn't claim it was.  It's because people didn't like what I said.  

If you want to call it a whine, so be it.

But I won't continue to respond to these off-topic mischaracterizations of what I said.  I'll wait and see if anyone (other than Ms Chart, who did give a polite reply) responds to the points I made, not just hurl insults based on who they presume I am or what they think I represent, or whether they want to say I'm a whiner or a jerk or a sociopath.  

If someone wants to actually talk about the Stupak amendment, domestic violence or whether getting a supplemental policy is oppressive, I'll respond.

No, it doesn't suck to be me, by the way.  No need to trouble yourself on that score.

[ Parent ]
"The thread was closed . . . (0.00 / 0)
because people didn't like what I said"

Waah, waah, waah.

You know, I've heard it said that sociopaths are the most boring people you'll ever meet. Damned if it isn't the truth.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Aha (4.00 / 1)
now we all see who is the "true victim" here, the poor, beleaguered, conservative man, as always!

Why am I not surprised?

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
He is wrong, he is posting in the wrong place, he has nothing to add top the debate (0.00 / 0)
but it is not spam, is not just an insult or other infringe,nt of OL rules.
When yo hide you also delete Natasha's excellent rebuttal.

Please don't TR people who are wrong.

If OL wants to make a rule that says wrong arguments can be hidden, then they could just stop comments entirely.

Troll rating is not "I disagree a lot."

I am rec'ing, to bring the thread back and to support OL TR rules.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
That's because (4.00 / 2)
you're a sociopath. Regular people have this thing called "empathy" that makes us care what happens to other people.

I feel sorry for you, really, you are missing out on the best part of the human experience.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Uprated (4.00 / 1)
for being such a perfect example of the type and providing a teachable moment.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
I assume that the bill (4.00 / 2)
continues not to require insurers to cover basic ob/gyn care beyond abortions (because Democrats don't like even discussing girly parts with Republicans)?  Am I wrong about that?  I confess to having lost interest in what's in this piece of shit bill some time ago.  It's amazing to me how time after time, women - who make up more than half of the population - are just supposed to accept laws that continue to treat us as second class citizens for the "larger good."  Even when the "larger good" is so small you'd have trouble finding it with a microscope (as is the case with the current healthcare bill).

In many ways, I think your point is symbolic of the larger problem with the bill, which is that it hands over everyone's lunch money to the insurance companies by using state powers to ensure insurance company profits.  That's not a small thing and yet that power set up is being virtually ignored by most supporters.  It's just kind of accepted.  

I thought I put a link about that in there somewhere ... (4.00 / 2)
[ Parent ]
But Viagra will still be covered, (4.00 / 2)
naturally! This is what non-representative government looks like.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Closed Left (1.00 / 4)
Interesting that anything other than mindless cheerleading is immediately swarmed upon as trolling here.

I dont want your comments hidden, (0.00 / 1)
But I support a bann of you.

You can go away now.

We arent here to convince the right about the sanity of respecting people and building democracy, we are in the business here of getting it done.  


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
Maybe you could explain. (4.00 / 1)
As I detailed in my posts, I think domestic violence is an issue separate from insurance.  I also think that having to get a supplemental policy for any elective proceedure isn't oppression.

For that, I should be banned?  I don't "respect" people and don't want to "build" democracy?  Because of my opinion on supplemental health insurance policies?

[ Parent ]
Domestic violence is inseperable from finance (4.00 / 3)
The whole point of talking about any of this was to point out that in these cases, regardless of household income, the abused spouse may be effectively extremely poor and subject to resource and other coercion.

Domestic violence victims are often effectively people without the ability to pay for things their spouses don't want, and through whom they most likely get their insurance. This goes doubly so for women who are actually stay-at-home moms.

Domestic violence victims are also afforded doctor-patient confidentiality like everyone else. So when they're at a doctor's appointment, they can ask for any care that's either covered or that they can pay for. If things are covered, they're just covered. I explained about the ability to pay.

I realize that conservatives, like economists, often don't understand this simple concept of not being able to afford things and consequently being effectively restricted from having them.

People who can't afford food, for example, must either be provided for through other means than their income or go hungry. That's that.

But look, you're not asking seriously. I don't just write about these things because they happened to me, but because after they happened, I spent years reading about what happened to other people so that I gradually came to understand that it wasn't just me. I learned that the enforced social isolation, the financial contral, the constant badgering and destruction of my opinion of myself, were all extremely common abuse tactics. This information is publicly available. Widely available, even.

You don't "think" these issues are connected. It doesn't seem reasonable to you, from what you've read and experienced, to make this claim. Though if you actually did care about domestic violence issues, you could study them and then you would know more than you do now instead of having to ask me.

There's a whole world of information out there about the ways that women, particularly mothers, are impoverished by society and have their financial power and social authority eroded. You could try "The Price of Motherhood," by Ann Crittenden, for example. So that would tell an observant person that women are more commonly financially dependent, by virtue of having society both pay them less when they work and charge them with responsibility for a great deal of unpaid, but necessary, work.

From there, a study of domestic violence would show you that financial dependence and having more children are positively correlated with increased likelihood of abuse. Not that they cause it, but that because of the precarious financial situation many women are in, sometimes there's an abusive partner involved in a situation that's frankly ripe for exploitation.

Though I'm not your librarian. I'm not your feminist issues helpdesk. If you're asking genuinely, study up, and don't expect a frakking graduate seminar from some random woman whose essay you read on the internet. If you're just raising objections to be annoying, then you're trolling. It's really up to you.

[ Parent ]
Thank you for the reasonable response (4.00 / 2)
I light of the incredible hostility on this board, I'm going to keep my response short, and let this drop.

Regardless of whether I should take a graduate school course, did you notice I never disagreed with what you said as to the existence or operation of domestic violence?  As I put it, some women are infantalized by their partners.  Perhaps that's language you don't like.  In fact, I don't even think I even expressly disagreed on the extent of domestic violence in society.  My point was that, if only 20% of abortions are paid for by insurance now (a generous estimate), we are still talking about a small percentage of women who are affected by this particular problem, relative to abortion - that is, that 20%, times the percentage of women subject to financial control, whatever that is, times the percentage of women you don't buy through the exchange, whatever that is, times the percentage of women of those women that can't scrape together the $500 to have it done otherwise.  Even if you put in pretty big percentages against that 20%, you still end up with a pretty small percentage of all women (in this example) who will be unable to get an abortion after Stupak who were getting abortions before Stupak.  In essence, because a very small percentage of women are hindered by a separate social problem, the entire thing is some abomination.  

So, in my view, my alleged ignorance of the subject doesn't resolve our disagreement.  In my view, your argument seems to fit, the pattern that the intense opposition to Stupak is politicking and in bad faith. That isn't because I accept what some guy said on tv.  It's because I've read it, and I notice that everyone who seems strongly to be against it seems to be arguing that it means something other than what it says, in many cases the exact opposite of what it says.  

As to graduate school and trolling, or even being annoying - have you conducted a survey as to the graduate courses the other posters have taken?  What if I choose the wrong graduate course, and they tell me something that isn't PC for the agenda here or I disagree?  How is expressing an opposing view, even one you deem uniformed, so annoying that someone needs to be shut down and called a sociopath?  What if I changed my name to progressivepaul and posted the same thing?

I do find the tone of this board remarkable.  I could understand if someone dropped by claiming that abortion was murder and you all were going to hell, perhaps getting an over the top reaction.  Saying that I lack empathy - wrong, but not a problem.  But having the thread closed down in an hour, and being called a sociopath and a liar, while not even attempting to discuss the rather detailed presentation I set out - what exactly is the community here afraid of?  How is that a representation of empathy or openness?  

But I do appreciate your civility.

[ Parent ]
Look at me, look at me (0.00 / 0)
look at me! I am the Misunderstood Conservative!

I will whine and cry until my need for human contact is met! (And at the same time wonder why the only people who ever talk to me at all are strangers on the internet)

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Liar (4.00 / 1)
The posts were dealt with without resorting to TR.

all you have are your feelings - show me the facts, liar.

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
Look at the thread (0.00 / 0)
It was hidden.  HouseofProgress, no fan of mine, opened the thread.  It took about an hour to get hidden.  When I signed in, about an hour after my original post, the thread was hidden.

You're awfully free in calling people liars.  Why is that?

[ Parent ]
Turn about (4.00 / 1)

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
Illegitimi non carborundum (4.00 / 4)
Having read all the comments to date, I can see some people have a hard time fitting your story into their world view.  They may need to stretch their imaginations, read a novel, volunteer at a women's shelter, or walk a mile in your shoes.  

"~ When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole world opens up to you ~ "
  Susan Sarandon

Self-esteem (4.00 / 3)
I have been saying for a while now that, what lies behind the whole pro-life vs. pro-choice debate is the lack of self-esteem many woman and young girls have.

To me, this is a culture-wide problem, and most men do not see it, choose not to see it and/or don't give a hoot because they are getting their rocks off and won't be stuck with the mess after.

It saddends me that there are people still trying to take away rights of woman to have control over their bodies.

I also often say that, when all the old white men die off America and the world will be a better place for all of us.

I say this part jokingly and part serious.

I will give a quick personal background so you know where I am coming from and hoping that it will express that what I say is by no means demonizing woman or blaming them for the situaitons they get into.

I am a 41 year old white gay man who has been in an abusive relationship with a man many years ago. I was brought up Catholic, and I was sexually abused by my mother. I do not hate woman, however, I identify with feeling there is no way out of a situtaion when, in fact...there really isn't, and only chance or luck allows you to be free.

My hope is that one day everyone will have the ability to control their own body and not anyone else's.

What more is freedom but being free of any amount of slavery of your very body?

I hear you (4.00 / 1)
Agreed, amen and all that.

And it's harder, I think, when you've had abusive or very controlling parents to see an abuser coming in a relationship, though people can learn. So I'm glad you got away, too, and were willing to share that here.

The funny thing about telling people these stories is that very often, you do get into the habit of reflexively saying that even though a person of the fe/male gender mistreated you, you don't hate all of them, because there are those people who assume that you must. And I think a lot of people--and I'm not talking about people with histories of abuse--assume that for the same reason that, years later, you'll see people taking out their anger against someone they dated as a teenager on someone different that they met as an adult. As if there were nothing disturbed about it.

Yet it's like that with many kinds of pre-emptive prejudice which is exceedingly common and can be hard to train oneself out of. When it's so mainstream to have baseless and irrational dislikes of people you don't know, I think it can be hard for some to wrap their minds around someone who had a legitimately bad experience with a given type of person and doesn't hate everyone who resembles them.

Anyway, I ramble. But thank you again. It's important for people to realize that abuse doesn't have to be the end of a person's story.

[ Parent ]
You know, I was in a (mostly) emotionnally abusive relationship as well (4.00 / 2)
and raised in a household that was back and forth on the line of emotionally abusive. I would say that the gift that all of us that have been abused have: we can fu**ing walk away, even if it's a matter of crawling out on our knees. This is not so much true of abusers who will never liberate themselves from a well of sickness. And of course for anyone to come here and suggest that emotion should never play a role in the legislative process and convince themselves that Stupak is working from anything but an irrational, deeply phobic, women-hating place... wow. That speaks to a spectacular amount of white male privilege, that everything that Stupak might do is construed as rational because it conforms to norms. And on the other hand, voices against it, even while heavily reliant on data, are inevitably understood as bringing dastardly emotion into the fold.

[ Parent ]
And some people wonder why (4.00 / 7)
women are reluctant to tell their stories . . .

At least here it was only a few asshole trolls. Imagine what it's like in the real world, where guys like that are the chief-of-police.

Montani semper liberi

I love this article, it needs printing somewhere, (0.00 / 0)
so it stands alone.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

Why isn't this just an objection to all laws, not just to supplemental policies? (0.00 / 0)
If some women are in relationships in which they experience virtual poverty, then aren't all laws that put a financial burden on anyone subject to the same objection?

Start with traffic laws.  Obviously, traffic citations are insignificant compared with the stakes in abortion.  But, in my state, you lose your license if you don't pay a ticket in 60 days.  And, in this case, we aren't talking about the availability of abortion, but the ability to write a separate check.

A woman in a "no lunch money" relationship can't pay the ticket without permission.  The man in the situation can refuse her the money for his own reasons or because he blows his paycheck on drugs and booze.  Then she loses her ability to drive, with all sorts of horrible consequences.

By the logic of this argument, the traffic laws are the root of the problem.  But the analysis of any law needs to begin with the assumption that people over 18 have the same basic freedoms and responsibilities.  If someone has been deprived of their autonomy by a separate circumstance or third party, it doesn't make the law than imposes the fine or burden objectionable, but the circumstance and actions of that third party objectionable.  

You're on a different order of magnitude, here (0.00 / 0)
A traffic citation is an extremely minor matter. It doesn't remotely compare, nor is it interchangeable, with the serious medical risks of childbirth, the economic blow of motherhood, nor the increased vulnerability of women with children to exploitation.

Women who can't choose whether or not to be mothers, who have that decision made for them by someone else, simply don't have equality.

The right to control reproduction is fundamental to women's autonomy.

I don't know how many other ways to say that, or how to make you listen. Motherhood is not like getting a hangnail, or taking up a hobby, or buying clothes, or even getting a house. It's a life-changing, often consuming event whose consequences are likely to have significant impact on a mother's freedom of movement for about two decades. It isn't that it doesn't impact fathers, but to be frank, it certainly doesn't impact them as much in the aggregate, and they can basically walk away at any time with far less financial cost than staying around to be a parent in residence.

Women have, for reasons that are beyond the scope of this discussion perhaps, primary responsibility for the most time-consuming parenting tasks in the vast majority of families. Women bear all of the physical risk in having a child, as well as the majority of the economic risk. And women, in every society studied, devote more of their resources to and make better decisions for their children, so taking resources and decision-making away from them also makes children's lives worse in aggregate.

You may think this isn't about health, that it's something trivial like getting a fine, but that's just ridiculously uninformed.

When women don't have resources and can't make decisions about when to become parents, children suffer and societies, whole nations, become poorer for it. Every development agency has seen by now the tremendous returns that can be had by investing in women and increasing their autonomy. And this issue, reproduction, is in fact central to systematic oppression of women and discrimination against us, which is never separated from our access to resources and health care in real life, no matter how much you might like to build an arbitrary wall between them in policy.

And this forum, if you will, is a blog founded by progressives with a particular loathing of bipartisanship for the purposes of discussion mainly amongst ourselves. It's public to an extent, but its purpose isn't to coddle, praise, or otherwise throw out a welcome mat for conservatives.

[ Parent ]
The ability to drive is fundamental to automony in this society. (0.00 / 0)
A traffic citation, if unpaid, isn't trivial at all.

Writing two checks instead of one IS trivial.

Your post addressed, not access to abortion generally, but the condition of those women who, for reasons of domestic violence, are unable to perform a trivial act.  You can talk about how reproductive autonomy is fundamental, but you are not addressing the topic raised by your story, which is the difficulty some women will have if they need to write two checks.

And, yes, society is poorer for those women not being able to function as autonomous individuals and there are all sorts of grave consequences. I never remotely suggested otherwise.  That loss extends to many areas that have nothing to do with abortion.  But that isn't the fault of the Stupak amendment or any other rules or obligations that those women will be unable to conform to because of their situation.  There may be other faults of the Stupak amendment, and there are other losses from domestic violence - but to connect the two in this fashion without a link other than a general statement about reproductive autonomy and the social costs or of unwanted children (which is not the topic) is arbitrary.

This isn't uniformed, it is simple logic. You keep saying that my comments are based on not understanding the facts, and I keep conceding your version of the facts, in their entirety, and noting how the facts as you present them, don't add up to an objection to Stupak.  The connective link isn't there.  

[ Parent ]
A little late to the party.. (0.00 / 0)
It allows coverage for abortions due to rape or incest or medical reasons.

Bull Fucking Shit. The exception is not "medical" - only life (ie you re septic and have internal hemorrhaging and you are about to drop dead).

I think we should push to have the FY2011 Hyde amendment say "health of the mother" - people seem to think it already exists.

Or I guess we should ask to have free money for abortion parties and then "settle" for a health exception.


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