Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dear Pro-Lifers: You're Getting Played. Again.

Dear Pro-Lifers,

There's a reason pro-choicers are calling bullshit on our women's healthcare legislation that the Supreme Court just struck down 5-3

Let me ask: since when, in the history of Texas politics, have we ever cared about women's healthcare -- or anyone's healthcare?

Was it when we refused federal funding for Medicaid expansion contributing to the nation's highest uninsured rate? Or when we enacted "friendly" malpractice regulation to limit punitive damages for doctors who make mistakes? Or maybe it was before the Affordable Care Act when we spent decades overlooking a systemic health care problem in our state?*

All of a sudden, Texas lawmakers start proposing ambulatory surgery center standards on abortion providers in the name of health care, and we believe them?

No one's trying to help poor women with pneumonia, rotting teeth, false alarms, poor vision, PCOS, sprained ankles, kidney stones, asthma, arthritis, carpal tunnel, breast cancer, or brain tumors. But she wants an abortion, and all of a sudden, we only want the best for her?

Which is more likely: Texas legislators suddenly started caring about women's health and wrote a bill about it, or Texas legislators found another way to offend women by pretending to care about their health, with the ultimate goal of limiting abortion?

I don't know which is more a slap in the face: openly not doing anything about health care for years, or pretending to do something about healthcare, only to further your own agenda.

Look, we're right on this issue. A developing baby in utero, a fetus, is a human and deserves to live as much as any other human. Yes, we should protect these children.

But how dare we scream our truth and pray our prideful prayers and gossip about poor life choices and those poor babies while pretending to care about health care. We invite our "pro-life" politicians into our churches, smile for photos, and all the while they're skimming the offering. 

You know what would really change women's hearts about abortion?  

I don't, really. 

But I know it's not going to happen through sweeping legislation that makes women feel more manipulated, dismissed, and discarded.

Maybe a good place to start would be truly caring about quality, accessible, affordable health care in our state. 

*I reached out to my Texas legislators, multiple times, over several years, deploring that it was impossible to purchase a private health insurance plan in our state that covered maternity care. I never received more than a form letter in reply: thank you for sharing your concerns... we're not interested. This was before the Affordable Care Act, when my husband and I worked at or under 39 hours a week, so our employers weren't required to provide health insurance. At this time, the private market in Texas did not carry a single health insurance plan that would cover maternity care, even if purchased before a woman became pregnant. 

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