Friday, June 7, 2013

Vagina Control

Pennsylvania legislators are very concerned about controlling the vaginae of Pennsylvania.  I'm sorry, I mean the women of Pennsylvania.  It's just so hard to remember that I'm a woman and not a vagina when all my legislators seem to care about controlling how I can use my vagina.

You see, while Republican legislators are intensely concerned that we're all allowed to own whatever guns we want regardless of whatever future laws the federal government may - or more likely may probably not - pass, they're equally concerned that women can't buy insurance that covers abortion.  The Pennsylvania Senate has recently passed HB818, a bill whose only purpose is to be sure that if a woman buys health insurance through the health insurance marketplace, that insurance cannot cover abortion.  Whether a person needs a government subsidy to afford their insurance or not, that person cannot buy a policy that includes abortion coverage.  Of course, women can go out and purchase supplemental insurance specifically to cover abortion.  Not through the insurance marketplace.  Don't be ridiculous.  It's important that the legislature controls women's bodies.

It's not enough that, thanks to Henry Hyde, American women who rely on Medicaid for their health coverage needs have not had access to abortion coverage since 1977.  It's not enough that poor women, whose access to contraception and reproductive education has been consistently under attack all over this country.  It's not enough that, as of May 1 of this year, women must receive state directed counseling designed specifically to discourage them from having an abortion and then wait 24 hours to have one.  It's not enough that, again as of May 1, public employees only receive abortion coverage in the case of life endangerment, incest, or rape and that minors must have the consent of a parent before receiving an abortion.

No.  On top of all that, if you want to use the federally created health insurance marketplace - that was the Republicans' idea in the first place even though they're running from it like the bloody plague now - you can't buy health insurance which includes abortion coverage.  You can't buy it, not even with your own money.  You can't take advantage of the system that was set up to allow people a chance to get the same rates as companies get when they get group insurance policies.

It's a system designed to put us all on equal footing, but Republicans don't want women on equal footing.  Republicans, to be fair, want a hierarchical world where rich men - preferably white men - are on top and everyone else is scrabbling for a position in second place.  In this particular case, the target of control, the target of oppression is women.  Henry Hyde didn't have a "vehicle" to stop anyone from poor women from getting an affordable abortion if it was needed.  If only he'd have hung around a few years longer he'd have lived to see the legislators of Pennsylvania find a way to start filtering that misogyny up to the middle class.

I'm not going to tell you my personal opinion on abortion.  There was a time when I would have spent some time on it, but I'm done apologizing to people who call themselves pro-life while putting women's lives in untenable positions.  My personal opinion on abortion doesn't matter.  Your personal opinion on abortion doesn't matter.   The only opinion that matters is the opinion of a woman who needs to make a decision about her body and her life and the only person that needs to know that opinion is her doctor.

Richard Alloway (R-33), David Argall (R-29), John Blake (D-22), James Brewster (D-45), Patrick Browne (R-16), Mike Brubaker (R-36), Jake Corman (R-34), John Eichelberger (R-30), Edwin Erickson (R-26), Mike Folmer (R-48), John Gordner (R-27), Stewart Greenleaf (R-12), Scott Hutchinson (R-21)Richard Kasunic (D-32), Charles McIlhinney (R-10), Bob Mensch (R-24), Dominic Pileggi (R-9), John Rafferty (R-44), Robert Robbins (R-50), Joseph Scarnati (R-25), Lloyd Smucker (R-13), Timothy Solobay (D-46), Robert Tomlinson (R-6), Elder Vogel (R-47), Randy Vulakovich (R-40), Kim Ward (R-39), Michael Waugh (R-28), Donald White (R-41), John Wozniak (D-35), Gene Yaw (R-23), and John Yudichak (D-14) are the 31 senators who recently voted to approve a piece of paper whose only purpose is to deny women the rights to their own bodies.

I'd like to make a special shout-out to Kim Ward (R-39) who has the special distinction of being the only female senator to vote for this odious piece of trash.  Also to John Wozniak, John Yudichak, John Blake, James Brewster, Richard Kasunic and Timothy Solobay - all Democrats who approved this nonsense: thank you so much for protecting the rights of women.  For the record, if the Democrats had stood together against this bill it would have been a 25-25 tie.  If Kim Ward cared about women, it would have failed 26-24.

This didn't have to happen.  Are you angry?  I'm angry.  If you're as furious as I am, please call your representative.  Some of you may have a representative on the list above.  You'll notice they're all linked to their information pages.  Be sure to stay in touch.

(Check out this post, cross-posted over at Keystone Politics, then you can hop over to Broad and Pennsylvania to see Rich Wilkins' response to my post and then, if you're still in, you can check out my counter to his response, To Primary or Not to Primary.)