Women are under attack. Yes, there is a rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan and President Obama is convinced that we must send more troops to defeat them. The Taliban treat woman as sub-human. Requiring their complete covering in the burkha from head to foot. They have no rights and are treated as chattel by their husbands and fathers.
But one doesn’t have to go to Afghanistan to find women under attack. We only have to look at the present form of the Health Care Reform Bills winding their way through the House and Senate. Rep. Bart Stupak, (D-Mich.) introduced a deadly amendment to the House version of the bill H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act. Stupak, doing the bidding of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and evangelicals like Jim Wallis, want to exclude the legal right to abortion from the health care public options. It would also have a chilling effect on private pay abortions in the present language. This puts women and their reproductive health care a great risk. The ripple effect this will have on the entire healthcare industry including private insurance will be tremendous. It will create a situation for women in this country that has the potential to threaten their lives when a pregnancy goes terribly wrong.
Abortion is legal in the United States until the first trimester. This was the ruling in Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court. In some circumstances it is necessary to have an abortion later in a pregnancy. Especially when it threatens the health of the mother. Doctors and women need to be able to confer and decide what is the best course of health care in a particular situation. Not politicians. And this is exactly what Rep. Stupak is doing-playing doctor with women’s health and wellbeing.
Jewish tradition understand that sometimes an abortion is necessary. Is it preferred? No. Is it a form of birth control? No. But in cases when there is a danger to the mother’s health it is permitted. This differs from Catholic ideology. They believe that the sacrifice of the mother for the future baby is part of their religion. But why should their religious ideals (which conflict with our rights as citizens) be written into law?
Simply because there are more Catholics than Jews? More evangelicals than Jews.
Jewish tradition also believes that the community has a responsibility to provide healthcare to the most vulnerable of society. This is written about in our Talmud and our codes.
The Senate version of the bill is abortion neutral. It will not affect the right to an abortion when one is needed. This is the version of the bill that needs to come to the floor.
Urge your Senators to ensure that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) does not restrict access to vital reproductive health care. The Capitol Switchboard can be reached at 202.224.3121.
Join me in keeping women’s health protected as America addresses the crisis in healthcare. Let us not have an attack on Women in America.