|December 24, 2009
In Solidarity: Healthcare Reform is No Holiday Gift for Women and Immigrants
Rebecca Sive | 2:51 PM | Blog Post
Dear Readers,Three cheers for Sylvia Henriquez at the the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. Now, here's a woman with conviction.
December 24th, 2009"Senate Passes Health Care Reform Bill
"This morning, the Senate voted through their version of the health care reform legislation. Unfortunately, what could be a tremendous opportunity has been used instead to deliver a blow to women and immigrants. Even though the restrictive abortion language passed in the House did not make it into the Senate bill, the compromise that was forged by Senator Nelson (D-NE) remains excessively restrictive; people who purchase insurance policies that cover abortion would be expected to write two checks - one for abortion coverage, and one for the rest. Though this may seem a small inconvenience, the added administrative processes that will be required is an incentive for insurance companies to drop abortion coverage altogether. Moreover, states can decide whether to prohibit plans that include abortion coverage in the exchange, meaning that women in more conservative states will be unable to purchase affordable health insurance policies that cover the entire scope of reproductive health services.
"This is unacceptable.
"Immigrants fared no better; Senator Menendez's (D-NJ) amendment to remove the five-year bar to Medicaid for legal permanent residents did not make it into the final bill. Even worse, the Senate version of the bill does not let undocumented persons buy insurance policies from the exchange with their own money.
"However, it is not over yet. There is another step in the legislative process where the House bill and the Senate bill must be reconciled during a procedure called "conference committee." We must continue, and demand that health care reform not be passed on the backs of women and immigrants. Enough with divide-and-conquer politics - restrictive abortion language and anti-immigrant provisions must be removed from the final health care legislation in congress. We will stand for nothing less.
"the NLIRH Staff"
(Go to: http:latinainstitute.org
to learn more.)
My best wishes to all for a safe, happy and just new year.
Labels: abortion, Ben Nelson, healthcare reform, immigrants, Medicaid, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Senator Menendez, U.S. Senate
|December 22, 2009
Healthcare Bill Senator Boxer's Missouri Compromise: "A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand"
Rebecca Sive | 10:47 PM | Blog Post
When I was thinking yesterday morning about the implications of the Senate's healthcare bill, I started thinking about the issue of compromise.
Then, I remembered Abraham Lincoln's amazing speech about the (Congressional and people's) house divided of his day--over the issue of slavery.
Please go to one of the links below to read what I wrote, and then: circulate this call-to-action; post-it to Facebook; Twitter-it; and encourage your family, friends and colleagues to take action.
While there is no time to waste, we do have time to organize
: According to a White House statement this morning, the work on the healthcare bill may go past the State of the Union speech. Let's make it right
Labels: Facebook, healthcare reform, Huffington Post, rh reality check, Sen. Barbara Boxer, State of the Union, Twitter, US House, US Senate
"Leading Voices" and "Best of the Blogs"
Rebecca Sive | 12:28 PM | Blog Post
I'm pleased to tell you that my commentary on the sad state of affairs in the U.S. Congress is getting some national attention.
In addition to the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-sive),
here are relevant links from the last few days:http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/
: "Leading Voices: Commentary from Leading Voices in the Reproductive Health and Justice Community
My reason for writing SiveSiftings
is to spur action: So, if you think it helpful, please pass this information along, and then ask your colleagues, friends and family to tell the U.S. Senate and House to do right by American women. We will
hold them accountable.
More blogposts to follow shortly. Also, please pay close to what Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice organizations are recommending we do.
Labels: Planned Parenthood, US House, US Senate
|December 18, 2009
Ben Nelson is My New Hero: At Least He Has the Courage of His Convictions
Rebecca Sive | 4:58 PM | Blog Post
Here's my take on the debacle in the Senate: Go to today's Huffington Post Politics
After you've read it, just think where we might be had the women Senators had the gumption to stand up and say: This bill doesn't work for the women of America: We are writing one that does and will sign no other.Here is the full text of my post:
In my memo to the Democratic women members of Congress the other day, (see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-sive
), I noted that since:
1) not a single male member of the House or Senate has stood-up and said that insuring equitable access to women’s reproductive health care, including access to abortion, is requisite to healthcare reform, and that since
2) the President has said nothing, nada, zilch, about the fundamental
sex discrimination inherent in Nelson/Stupak-type legislation, nor about its deleterious effect on women’s health,
these women should gather together, and walk over to the White House and say:It’s time to start over with this so-called healthcare bill. We’re not buying your Hobson’s Choice and neither are the women of America. We know who we represent, and we’re here to fight for them. And we won’t leave, not a single one of us, until this fight is over, and we have won a healthcare bill that actually recognizes the healthcare needs of American women.
Sadly for the women of America, this hasn’t happened.
Instead, in the week since I suggested this strategy, the Senate’s discussion of its healthcare bill has devolved from farce to tragedy, from public policy discussion to an insider traders’ deal-making session, in which female and male Senators alike are trading-out the lives of American women for the sake of re-election and keeping their corporate donors happy.
Here’s the proof: The public option is gone; the Medicare opt-in for middle-aged Americans who can’t get private insurance is gone; and there is negotiation of a “compromise” on abortion, which, since Senator Nelson has already rejected its first iteration, is about to go from really, really bad to really, really worse. (See: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/12/17/nelson-rejects-abortion-compromise-senate-health-care
.)Meanwhile, not a single Democratic woman Senator, not one, has stood-up, in this week since Senator Nelson’s anti-abortion bill was defeated, and said to him: Enough already. Your bill was defeated. Our side won. Your side lost. Women’s equal access to reproductive healthcare will be a part of the Senate healthcare bill because we will insist on it until it’s done.
Not one of the Democratic women Senators has said, to paraphrase David Axelrod’s comments of Thursday morning: “[The healthcare bill] should be about [women] who need help.”
Not one has said: At least half the American people needing help are women, and so far the Senate’s bill isn’t giving them the help they need. We won’t vote for any bill until it includes that help.
Meanwhile, here’s what Senator Nelson said this week about his approach to the healthcare bill: “There isn't any real way to move away from your principle on abortion.”
Now there’s someone to respect. He’s
got the courage of his convictions. He
actually has a position of principle from which he won’t budge. He
has a principle, based on his moral beliefs, that guides the political decisions he makes.
What a concept.
On the other hand, here’s what Senator Boxer said on the same day: “What I’m after is the status quo.”
And what might that status quo be? Well, it is the “Hyde Amendment,” which prohibits the federal government from paying for abortions for poor women covered by Medicaid.
Talk about tragedy: The best we can get is a Democratic woman Senator advocating for second-class citizenship for her poorer sisters.
But wait, there’s more. Another scene in this week’s tragedy is the one where the Senators dropped the public option.
It’s bad enough that Senator Lieberman held the nation hostage to his personal political agenda, but the real problem on the public-option front is that the lack of any sort of public option, including an opt-in to Medicare, is another slam at women: Here are the facts: Women live longer, so they need healthcare longer; women take better care of themselves, so they seek healthcare services more frequently; by and large, women are poorer than men; so, they need the public option more than men do.
Not a whisper about this either from any of the women Senators.
And then there’s the scene in (this) tragedy in which the leader declaims his (bogus) call for 60 votes to pass his bill. A majority is all that’s needed to pass any bill. So, why does Harry Reid say he needs 60? Well, so he and his band of merry pranksters can avoid the unpleasantness of a filibuster.
I ask you: So what if the Republicans filibuster: History and the American people are not on their side. Why should the Democratic Senators be--by virtue of their willingness to dumb-down their bill to get a filibuster-proof majority?Not a single Democratic woman Senator has stood up and said to Harry Reid that this bill you want 60 votes for won’t work for the women of America. Let’s go back to the drawing boards, and then, if the Republicans filibuster, so-be-it; they’re still in-the wrong, but, unlike them, we’ve done the right thing, and we’re willing to (keep) fighting for it. In fact, we’ll filibuster right back, if that’s what it takes.
If the bottom line in all this is that we won’t be getting healthcare
reform, but we might be getting healthcare finance
reform, is it too much to ask that the Democratic women members of the House and Senate insist on eliminating any kind of two-tiered system for paying for abortions—one for the rich and one for the poor. Is it too much to ask that they say to do otherwise isn’t reform of any kind; it’s the same bad business as usual and we won’t have it?I can understand someone who believes abortion is wrong and must be prohibited under all circumstances; hence, my respect for Senator Nelson. What I don’t understand is women who are complicit in the use of government power to deny their poorer sisters access to the healthcare they, the richer sisters, get. This looks like what we used to call in the 70s “identifying with the oppressor.” It’s still a very bad idea.
So, here’s this week’s talking point for the Democratic women Senators:
Have the courage of your convictions: Stand-up, and say what Ben Nelson said: “There isn't any real way to move away from your principle on abortion, (and we won’t)
Labels: Ben Nelson, Harry Reid, President Obama, Sen. Barbara Boxer
|December 15, 2009
You Weren't Elected to Congress to Bargain Away Our Rights and Make Deals
Rebecca Sive | 2:01 PM | Blog Post
Memo to Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Stabenow, and the Other Women Representatives and Senators:
Here's my talking points memo of the week: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-sive/you-werent-elected-to-con_b_384387.html">www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-sive/you-werent-elected-to-con_b_384387.html
You can see more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-sive
, because as much as our Democratic women in the Congress and the Senate do everyday for all of us, they need to do more, especially on the matter of healthcare reform.
Once again, I ask you to call and let them know that's just how you feel.
Labels: Congress, Huffington Post, Nancy Pelosi, Senator Debbie Stabenow
|December 7, 2009
Thanks to Bloggasm: The Chamber Of Commerce Is Wrong On Health Care
Rebecca Sive | 11:39 AM | Blog Post
Good morning dear readers,
Thanks to Simon Owens of bloggasm
, here's a link to Comcast's announcement that it's opposed to the Chamber of Commerce position on federal healthcare reform:http://thinkprogress.org/2009/12/05/comcast-chamber-health
And here is a quote from the piece Simon sent: "But on Thursday, Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider
, came out and endorsed the Senate health care legislation
. CEO Brian Roberts sent a letter
to President Obama saying that the “enactment of comprehensive health care reform legislation is, in my judgment, critical to putting this country on a path of sustained growth and prosperity.”Hear, hear.
And while you're at it, go here, here
, to get updates on the healthcare legislation, and, in particular, regarding the plan by Senators Hatch and Nelson, a DEMOCRAT, to do as follows:
"Today (Monday), we expect Senators Nelson (D-NE) and Hatch (R-UT) to offer an outrageous amendment paralleling the House Stupak language which would ban abortion coverage in public and private insurance plans that receive federal funds.
But the underlying bill already contains significant compromise language that precludes federal funds from being used for abortion services.
Labels: Chamber of Commerce, Comcast, National Partnership for Women and Families, Rep. Stupak, Senator Hatch, Senator Nelson, Simon Owens
|December 2, 2009
Carol Marin asks: "Why aren't women running for office?"
Rebecca Sive | 11:51 AM | Blog Post
Good afternoon, readers.
On this day, the National Day of Action (to prevent Stupak), when America's women are in one of the biggest political battles of the last 50 years: battling to prevent the Stupak Amendment from becoming law, think about where we might be, instead, if more women were in high political office.
Would there be such misogynist legislation taken seriously, approached with such respect, from the White House on down, if women held office in greater numbers?
I don't think so, even though I don't believe that women are "purer" or "better" than men--one of the main reasons my hero, Jane Addams, gave for the need for women to be active in the "public sphere."
Carol Marin takes a look at the reasons for the dearth of women in high (elected, political) places, in her column in today's Chicago Sun-Times
. Here's the link:http://www.suntimes.com/news/marin/1915122,CST-EDT-Carol02.article
Carol concludes by saying: "...it's up to us women to take the risk. And run." Hear, hear. Yes, yes.
Check-out Carol's column. And when you're done, if you haven't already, go to :http://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/,
to find out how you can lobby Congress today
Labels: Carol Marin, Chicago Sun-Times, Congress, Jane Addams, National Day of Action (to prevent Stupak), Rep. Stupak, The White House