Without abortion rights, poor women suffer

There are no winners when abortion is criminalized — unless you count conservative politicians and embryos. But there are losers.

Local public radio station KQED broadcasted an interesting hour of commentary on abortion rights August 7, one of its regular morning Forum shows. This one was hosted by Scott Shafer, and included Amy Everitt, state director for NARAL Pro-Choice CA speaking for choice and lawyer Jennifer Popick for the anti view.

The show included most of the usual arguments pro and con abortion rights, but one caller raised the issue that ought to be prominent in every news report: it’s poor women who suffer and die when abortion rights are denied. The caller pointed out that well-off women can simply go somewhere else for a safe procedure; women without money or resources have no option but to make desperate and often dangerous attempts to end an unintended, unwanted pregnancy.

I wanted to call in to read a few stories, put a few faces (like my own) on women yesterday and today without reproductive choice, but think it would be hard to do in just an hour.

Retired Presbyterian minister and former theological seminary president Laird Stuart, put it this way after reading Perilous Times: “If you doubt there is a war on women or a war on the poor, listen to the men and women, the boys and girls in this book.”

If Obamacare goes, women lose

Lots of us were disappointed with the healthcare bill: I wanted single payer (but never held my breath about that,) the “death panel” fiasco cost us a critical piece of coverage… but here we are. At least we got a bill.

And “Obamacare” the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, has been a boon to women. It’ll be even more so, if the Supreme Court doesn’t send us back to square one. Jessica Arons outlines just a few of the ways the act has benefited women in a recent article for the Center for American Progress.

“Thanks to Obamacare,” Arons writes, “more than 45 million women have already taken advantage of recommended preventive services, including mammograms, pap smears, prenatal care, well-baby care, and well-child care with no cost sharing such as co-pays and deductibles. Starting this August, millions more will be able to obtain contraception,
annual well-woman care (a visit with a gynecologist), screening for gestational diabetes, breastfeeding counseling and supplies, and screening for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and the Human papillomavirus—again at no extra cost.”

Add to these the millions of women now (or soon to be)  avoiding discrimination over things like pre-existing conditions, including the condition of having been born female.

If the Supreme Court doesn’t strike it down, Republicans swear they’ll do it. The war on women is no illusion.