April 15, 2010
A new Public Service Announcement from Kathleen Krenek.
April 15, 2010
In the overall health care reform, I am relieved to learn that sexual assault and domestic violence cannot be used as “pre-existing conditions” anymore. The practice had carried a chilling message of continued silence– which allowed the carnage carried on at home to remain in the home. However, and I know this may be hard to imagine, but I think Congress largely ignored women’s needs in the overall health care reform debate because the extent of consideration surrounding women’s needs amounted to continued control over our bodies and choices.
As I listened to the debate, I was reminded of the threat women seem to pose to the larger societal structure. Apparently, by opening the health care reform discussion, Congress provided an opportunity for legislation to deny our basic right to reproductive health and justice. The venom spewed around the media about “baby-killing” and the attempts to give insurance carriers to right to refuse coverage of birth control while reimbursing for Viagra was painful just to hear.
When the debate heated up and the bill looked doomed unless the restrictions to our rights were inserted, women’s health needs became dispensable. Women became invisible again. Maybe we had never stopped being dispensable for even progressive legislators dropped our right to reproductive justice. And, justifications for this negligence flew everywhere. I noticed legislators rolling their patronizing eyes when we wanted to fight the exclusions. Afterall, “why couldn’t women take one for the team?” they implied. And, that makes me wonder, whose team? Are we not equals? Where else can a non-medical group legislate a legal medical procedure? Is it just coincidence that this procedure involves women’s choice in reproductive decision making?
I naively believed that our fight for basic rights was over. After fighting for reproductive justice for so long, I thought we could move on. I was wrong, but I’m tired. Young women and men must take up the battle with passion and vigor. This is an emergent issue. If we can’t get recognition from a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress, can we realistically depend on them? Sadly, I don’t’ think so. How can we take this issue to the streets and make our struggle for reproductive justice a priority? I would love to hear suggestions.