Posts tagged National Organization for Women

In which women’s access to abortion becomes public-optional

From GT 2009-08-20: Tonight, in News of the Obvious:

And in breaking news from NARAL Pro-Choice America, it turns out that government provision of healthcare means that women’s healthcare will be allocated through a political process, and when women’s reproductive healthcare is allocated through a political process, women’s reproductive healthcare ends up being subjected to the vicissitudes of political debate over abortion.

NARAL may not draw the conclusion from its report, but the editorial board here at News of the Obvious will: setting aside outright political prohibitions, which aren’t likely to pass in the near future, a broad expansion of political control over women’s healthcare is the single worst thing that could possibly happen towards undermining women’s access to abortion and reproductive medicine.

— GT 2009-08-20: Tonight, in News of the Obvious

The House of Representatives just recently passed an omnibus health insurance bill which includes extensive new government involvement in health insurance and a strong public option of broad-based government-provided health insurance. The explicit purpose of this bill is to expand political control and political funding in the health insurance industry — to expand government’s role and responsibility in directly paying for healthcare and medical procedures, and to shift more of the money coming in to for-profit health insurance companies away from private sources, and towards government funding sources.

So-called Progressive While so-called Progressive organizations on the male Left — groups like MoveOn and SEIU and the AFL-CIO — have been celebrating the passage of the House bill as a great big win. MoveOn.org calls it historic health care reform and headlines their front page Victory!; now they are staging Countdown to Change rallies to thank those representatives who stood with the American people (by this, they mean those that voted for expanding the scope of the American government). In an e-mail circulated to their mailing list, the AFL-CIO called it a truly historic movement and called on supporters to pressure their Senators to pass a similar bill in order to ensure final victory.

Well, wait.

Just one little problem about this Huge Step Forward: turns out that, if it passes the Senate too, it will strip millions of women of access to abortion, by using strings attached to the new government funding to stop both the public option health insurance plans and plans offered by existing insurance companies from covering abortion procedures.

Oops.

From the National Organization for Women:

The House of Representatives has dealt the worst blow to women’s fundamental right to self-determination in order to buy a few votes for reform of the profit-driven health insurance industry. We must protect the rights we fought for in Roe v. Wade. We cannot and will not support a health care bill that strips millions of women of their existing access to abortion.

Birth control and abortion are integral aspects of women’s health care needs. Health care reform should not be a vehicle to obliterate a woman’s fundamental right to choose.

The Stupak Amendment goes far beyond the abusive Hyde Amendment, which has denied federal funding of abortion since 1976. The Stupak Amendment, if incorporated into the final version of health insurance reform legislation, will:

  • Prevent women receiving tax subsidies from using their own money to purchase private insurance that covers abortion;
  • Prevent women participating in the public health insurance exchange, administered by private insurance companies, from using 100 percent of their own money to purchase private insurance that covers abortion;
  • Prevent low-income women from accessing abortion entirely, in many cases.

NOW calls on the Senate to pass a health care bill that respects women’s constitutionally protected right to abortion and calls on President Obama to refuse to sign any health care bill that restricts women’s access to affordable, quality reproductive health care.

Terry O’Neill, National Organization for Women (2009-11-08): NOW Opposes Health Care Bill That Strips Millions of Women of Abortion Access Says Bill Obliterates Women’s Fundamental Right to Choose

Once again, this should come as no surprise. Government health insurance means political allocation for women’s healthcare — for any and every one of the women who is moved over to public options and public-private partnerships on the public health insurance exchanges.

Political allocation of women’s healthcare means that women’s healthcare will be subjected to political debate and sacrificed in the name of political compromises — which, in this country, means being subjected and sacrificed to the Gentleman’s Agreement between anti-choice partisans, on the one hand, and, on the other, the doughface politicos, who just don’t give much of a damn about women’s lives or health or freedom, and are happy to treat them as optional as long as they’ve got a bill to pass or a Democrat to elect.

This healthcare bill, authored by Democrats, pushed by Democrats, and supposedly a key aspect of the male liberal’s agenda for Progressive social change, will almost certainly mean a massive government-sponsored assault on women’s access to abortion. Women’s bodies are not public property; women’s health should not be subject to public controversy or dependent on the approval of the public (which means, in fact, the loudest and most belligerent voices in politics). But as long as government is calling the shots on women’s healthcare, women’s healthcare is always going to be compromised and sacrificed in the name of political agendas. The only way to make sure that women’s healthcare will no longer be treated as public-optional is real radical healthcare reform — not by preserving the government-regimented corporatist status quo, but rather by getting government out of healthcare entirely — by cutting the government strings that always come attached to government money — by getting rid of government subsidy and government regimentation and replacing them with grassroots mutual aid, abortion funds, community-supported free clinics, and other forms of low-cost healthcare free of political control because they are supported by free association and community organizing, rather than taxation and political allocation. That is to say, by taking the funding for women’s healthcare out of the hands of politicians, and putting in the hands of women themselves.

Expanding government control of healthcare funding is anti-choice, anti-woman, and would represent the single biggest assault on women’s access to abortion in the last 30 years.

See also:

¡Papeles para tod@s! 1 May 2009, 3:30 PM @ Commercial Center Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada

Bring your signs. Bring your flags (all of ‘em, from anywhere). Most important, bring yourself and bring your friends! Stand up and march on with your fellow workers and your fellow immigrants, against international apartheid; against the bordercrats and their walls, their checkpoints, their paramilitary raids, and their police state; and for the human rights of each and every person to be left alone, to live and work in peace, without needing to get a permission slip from the State for their existence.

1-mayo-2009-handbills

Justice for Immigrants; Human Rights for All!

May 1st 2009

Meet at 3:30 PM at the Commercial Center (between Commercial Center Dr and E. Sahara Ave).

March will begin at 5 PM, ending at the Federal Courthouse

  • Support family reunification!
  • Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform!
  • Support Workers’ Rights to Organize!
  • Support the DREAM Act!

Sponsored By:

LiUNA, PLAN, MEChA, Young Democrats of UNLV, LUZ community development coalition, Hermandad Mexicana, Stone Wall Democrats, Si Se Puede, Latino Democrats, NV NOW, Así Se Habla and UCIR.

For More Information Contact Us at info@ucir.org

Justicia Para Inmigrantes; Derechos Humanos Para Todos!

May 1, 2009

Reunión a las 3:30 PM en el Commercial Center (entre Commercial Center Dr y E Sahara Ave).

La Marcha comenzará a las 5PM y Terminará en la Corte Federal.

Apoyen La Reunificación de Las Familias!

Apoyen Una Reforma Migratoria!

Apoyen Los Derechos del Trabajador Para Organizarce!

Apoyen el Dream Act!

Patrocinado Por:

LiUNA, PLAN, MEChA, Young Democrats of UNLV, LUZ community development coalition, Hermandad Mexicana, Stone Wall Democrats, Si Se Puede, Latino Democrats, NV NOW, Así Se Habla and UCIR.

Para Más Información Por Favor Contacte a UCIR en info@ucir.org

Anti-Abortion Terrorist Site Held Liable, After All

Anti-abortion terrorism took a punch to the gut today. With a 6-5 vote to reversing its previous decision, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the "Nuremberg Files," an anti-abortion terrorist site, could be held liable for what amounted to threats of murder [Wired]. The site had listed names, addresses, and other personal information about abortion providers and pro-choice advocates, and crossed out the names of listees who were murdered, listing them as "casualties" of war. The reversal of ruling follows a petition to the court with amicus briefs from a huge coalition of reproductive rights groups, the American Medical Association, and forty-three members of Congress, to hold an en banc review of the decision [GT].

Although it reversed its previous decision to throw out the case, the Court also ordered a lower court ot reduce its previous $108,500,000 award of punitive damages, to lessen the ratio between the punitive damages and the $12,000,000 award of compensatory damages.

Previously, the Circuit Court of Appeals had made a specious argument on First Amendment grounds, holding that the lower court’s ruling infringed the rights to free speech of anti-choice terrorists. The site, however, was an blindingly obvious example of clear and present danger if there ever was one.

Imagine that, say, Osama bin Laden issued a fatwa declaring that, in defense of Muslim power, hawkish Right-wing legislators should be murdered. And after the campaign of terror had already slaughtered a few of them, a militant Islamist group compiled an extensive list with legislators’ personal information, home addresses, photos of their car, and even information about their childrens’ daily schedules. Then they put it online, surrounding it with background images of the blood of dead Muslims and links to photographs of dead Iraqi babies. Then they referred to a Holy War against the persecutors of Islam. Every time another legislator was shot and killed, his name was listed as crossed-out, as a casualty of jihad. Every time one was wounded, it was dimmed, as a non-fatal casualty. The site would continue to do this even after there was credible information indicating that its list had been used in some of the murders. Would this be — rightly — seen as a terrorist site? Would there be 6-5 rulings on whether or not it constituted an exercise of the right to free speech? I think it would rightly be seen as part of a coordinated campaign of terror, inciting and enabling violence against its selected targets.

Anti-abortion individuals and groups have every legal right to post their views online. They have every legal right to go around posting images of bloody fetuses. They have every right to single out particular doctors for (non-libelous) commentary, even the most lunatic ranting and raving. But they have no right to make what, in the context of a coordinated campaign of anti-abortion terror, amounts to an overt death threat. I take this shit very personally. My mother has worked in reproductive health in clinics that provided abortions, including in one of the towns in north Florida which was later served by Dr. David Gunn until he was murdered in Pensacola. I have friends who work for abortion providers today. I am and intend to continue being a politically visible pro-choice advocate. I thank the Court for their ruling to hold anti-abortion terrorists responsible for their actions.

The case is also interesting in that it upholds the RICO charges against the defendents. This will be an issue in the upcoming Supreme Court hearings on NOW v. Scheidler, in which racketeering law was used against Operation Rescue, Joe Scheidler, and other perpetrators of organized anti-abortion violence. The Supreme Court held in 1993 that RICO law was applicable in the case; the jury found them guilty; the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the conviction. The Supreme Court has declined to hear a First Amendment challenge against the ruling, but will hear arguments on some technical points pertaining to the RICO charges.

Despite this ruling, I don’t expect that the Nuremberg Files will be leaving the news any time soon. Especially with such a razor-thin ruling, I think we can expect to see appeals headed straight toward the Supreme Court on this case. Given the razor-thin division of the Supreme Court on the issue of abortion, I think I can safely predict that we will continue to live in interesting times with regard to this issue for a while yet.

For further reading:

  • GT 4/23/2001 Repro Rights Coalition Challenges Anti-Abortion Terrorist Website
  • GT 3/29/2001 Ruling Against Anti-Abortion Terrorist Site Overturned
  • GT 3/11/2001 Anti-Abortion Terrorist Convicted for Online Bounty
  • GT 3/10/2001 Happy National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers!