There are a number of good analyses out there on the world-wide non peer-reviewed interwebs regarding the upcoming showdown over abortion rights (or rather, whose bill will go farthest in restricting abortion rights) and health care reform. Dems are falling all over themselves to prove how icky and gross and inappropriate it is to offer women the full range of legal and necessary medical care. Go read Melissa at Shakesville, who wrote in response to Natasha Chart at OpenLeft, who wrote in response to Digby, who wrote:
I think [abortion rights] is a lost cause and was probably lost before the debate even began when the president bought into “common ground” nonsense. Even though some lame form of health care reform, likely with an even lamer opt-in public option, is going to hit the floors, everyone will insist that they simply have to further restrict millions of women’s ability to exercise their constitutional rights in order to appease “moderates.” And then the Republicans can run against the whole reform as a liberal nightmare. Awesome.
For years now, it’s been obvious to me that abortion is just a fundraising tool and outrage-o-meter used to gin up enthusiasm for Republicans who wear the “pro-life” mantle. Why do those anti-abortion people keep falling for the Republican line, when they never actually do anything serious about limiting abortion rights? National Republicans did nothing, although they controlled the U.S. House, Senate, White House, and Supreme Court from 2003-2007 (Most of the limitations have come from state legislatures and Supreme Court cases, not at the direct behest of Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate.) How dumb can they really be?
Well, they’re not the only dummies out there. Pro-choice women have been falling for the ZOMG!!111!!1! Roe Roe Roe!!! threats to fall in line and vote Democratic, and we have even less to show for it. At least anti-abortion Republicans can point to some state legislatures who have done their bidding. We pro-choicers can’t. And considering that many women are only covered by health insurance because they’re married to men whose jobs provide it–well, let’s just say that it’s even clearer to me now that single-payer health care is the only kind of health care delivery system that would allow these women to make their own health care decisions. Our current regime is embedded in patriarchal, heteronormative expectations that everyone is embedded in a family, and it distributes the health care goodies on the basis of our connections to wage-earners. Whose interests does that kind of system serve?
Time for a National Women’s Party again, girls! Like the Working Families Party in New York or the DFL in Minnesota, it would give feminists and other right-thinking progressives an institution that would direct our support to candidates from any party who support our causes–and to withdraw it from any candidate who wasn’t an advocate for our causes. Let’s use those votes that Alice Paul and her comrades went to the wall to win for us.
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