Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thoughts about Abortion and Health Care Reform After a Day in the Senate

I spent yesterday at the U.S. Senate with more than 100 advocates for reproductive health and health care reform. We heard from Senators Boxer, Dodd, Murray, and others about how the Senate would likely address the Stupak restrictions placed on the House health care bill. It was exciting to see many of the heroes of the reproductive justice movement in one place, and even more exciting to be with a large number of young women who are organizing in their communities.

The Senate health care bill was finally released last night, and it doesn't include any further restrictions on coverage for abortion -- as the President promised. But, let's not forget that neither did the House bill until two weeks ago.

So, now it's your turn. On December 2nd, there will be a national day of action at the U.S. Senate to assure that health care reform is not passed at the expense of women's reproductive rights. You can find out more here.

But, we are also asking you to get your congregations involved. We've posted a "toolkit", jointly developed by many faith-based organizations, on the Stupak amendment at our website. We're happy to be one of the contributors, and hope you'll check it out.

From my perspective, as those of you who have been reading my blogs on health care reform for months know, is that low income women should have access to abortion services as a covered medical service. I want to see the Hyde amendment repealed; yesterday, Senator Boxer promised she would soon introduce such a bill. But, because of my commitment to health care reform, I, like many other pro-choice people, are willing to agree to support health care reform that just doesn't take rights or services away from women who currently have them.

We should ask for and accept nothing less.

I hope you'll get involved.

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