Students must spread awareness about Stupak-Pitts amendment

December 7, 2009

On December 2, 2009, women from all across the United States demanded for the Senate to say NO to STUPAK through a National Day of Action organized by reproductive justice organizations across the country. Action events consisted of rallies, protests and calls to our Senators, asking them to urge Congress to remove the Stupak-Pitts amendment from the final Senate bill for health care reform.

The Stupak amendment would jeopardize the health and well-being of women and would eliminate abortion coverage for both private and public health plans. As a young woman of color, I demand that the Senate and the White House take bold action to make sure we preserve women’s health and access to abortions for ALL women, especially immigrant and low-income women and families who are the most disenfranchised in our communities.

In my personal experience, I have faced many barriers in accessing quality, affordable, and comprehensive reproductive health care and I know I am not alone in this. Mills students, if this seems accurate, then please tell your Senators about these barriers! What is the point of providing health insurance for more people if we can’t include basic women’s reproductive health care? Basic reproductive health is access to abortion services.

Women and families need abortion coverage in the health-care bill. Low-income women, immigrant women, queer women, women of color; we all need access to abortion in the bill!

Health reform should be about quality, affordable health care that includes abortion services, not about politics and ideology. Listen to youths and listen to women!

If you want to say NO to Stupak, it’s not too late! ACCESS/Women’s Health Rights Coalition has organized instructions on how YOU can take action for women’s health and reproductive justice:

1. Dial 1-877-264-4226

2. If dialing in, connect to talk to your Senators and provide your zip code.

3. If connecting via the LINK, you will be directed to a page where you can
enter your phone number and be directly connected to your Senators and
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

4. Tell your own story! If you prefer to, however, you can say:

My name is _____ ________, and I am calling today to ask that you work to prevent and oppose any provisions that will keep women and immigrants from obtaining the health care they need and deserve in the health care reform bills.

We ask that you continue to oppose any further restrictions on reproductive health coverage, including abortion services. Women’s health must be protected.

We must also make sure that all people who live in this country can access affordable, quality, culturally appropriate care. I ask that you work to remove the five-year waiting period on lawful immigrants and ensure the new health insurance exchange does not exclude anyone, regardless of their immigration status.

This debate must be about how we can support the health of women, their families and communities.

Please pass a health care reform bill that will work for everyone.
Thank you for your time.

5. Repeat. Dial 1-877-264-4226 again to connect to your other Senator. To connect with Senate Majority Leader Reid, call 202-224-354 and press 1 to speak to a staff member in his office.

6. If you can’t get through the first time, try again! The well-being of women and immigrants depends on your calls!

7. Tell your friends and family to do the same.

—Chibo Shinagawa, senior

Students must spread awareness about Stupak-Pitts amendment was published on December 7, 2009 in Letters to the Editor, Opinions

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  • David L. Gamaliel

    Sorry, but I can’t join in your “demand” which, as I see it, is for the country to pay, not for health care, but for destruction of innocent life. I demand, in fact, that no one has a right to expect others to pay for this horrific eating of our own young.

  • Donna Johnson

    Keep the abortion issue out of Health Care Reform. Millions of women in this country lack affordable health care and thousands die every year because of it. It would be such a shame if this bill, which could help so many women, sinks on the abortion issue. As far as I am concerned, abortions should not be subsidized by the government. If a woman really wants an abortion, she can pay for it herself, no one is stopping her. Abortions arent that expensive if a woman feels she really must have one. It would be such a shame if all the women that need affordable health care were denied that care due to the abortion issue. It is just not that important. For the sake of all the women in this country, dont make this an issue.

  • Lupe Rodriguez

    Nobody is asking you, or any other tax payer, to pay for abortions. If you dont believe in abortion, you have a right to that belief, but you do not have the right to prevent me or other women from having access to safe and legal abortion care. The bill in the Senate, in the form that it is now, without any amendments, would preserve the status quo that abortion NOT be payed for by federal funds. What Chibo mentions and what we are all asking for is that the Senate doesnt add provisions to the bill that will take away rights that women already have NOW. That the Senate not take away our ability to buy health plans, with our own money, that cover abortion if we want to. Also, I agree that we should keep the abortion issue out of health care reform. The problem is that a lot of our legislators decided to make it an issue by adding provisions to the health care reform bills that would TAKE AWAY rights that women already have regarding this health care service. I repeat, the bill on its own without the provisions, would not allow abortions to be subsidized by the federal government. I want health insurance reform just as much as you, and know personally that millions lack affordable health care, but if this bill does not pass it will not be because of the abortion issue. It will be because legislators are using whatever issue they can (be it the public option or the abortion coverage language) to kill the reform process. Finally, I would argue that the issue is VERY important. It is not just about abortion, but about equal coverage for all, and about ensuring that with reform we do not eliminate rights to health care that women already have. Even in California, abortion services are not very easily accessible or inexpensive and the reality is that this medical service is vital and life changing for many women. It is just as vital as any other family planning or pregnancy related service, like prenatal care or labor and delivery, and nobody would ever argue that women should not get coverage for those services. What we should be saying is that we need to health insurance reform NOW and we need it to be comprehensive for all people. We can have health insurance reform without sacrificing the rights of women.

  • Maggie Jo Banken

    Will do, thanks Nicole!