Monday, February 27, 2017

Title X

By Sarah Posegate

I couldn’t attend any of the far away town halls that Reed held this weekend because my husband was working and I needed to be with our three kids. I did manage to watch some of the live video and while I am proud of the number and strength of the resistance I was disappointed that the gathering dissolved into a shouting match...especially over abortion issues and defunding Planned Parenthood. 
The Huffington Post reports:  
Attendees loudly booed Reed when he said he did not support public funds for Planned Parenthood.
“I do not support taxpayer-funded paying of abortion,” Reed said, prompting boos. A woman in the front of the crowd immediately fact-checked his remark.
“You, an elected official, [are] giving misinformation,” she said. “Right now, our taxes do not pay for abortions. They pay for mammograms, they pay for birth control.”
“Planned Parenthood, less than 3 percent of the services they provide is abortion. And none of that 3 percent is funded by you,” she added.
Indeed, the Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976 by Congress, prohibits the use of public funds to pay for abortions, so there is no “taxpayer-funded paying of abortion.” (1)

Reed recently voted in favor of removing Title X funds (federal dollars for birth control for low income women) from organizations that also perform abortions, like Planned Parenthood. I wish I could sit down with Reed and ask him how taking away access to birth control for low-income women is going to help reduce abortions. I would like to show him this chart, and ask his thoughts on why the Democrats seem better at reducing abortion despite being largely pro-choice. 

It seems to me that he’s not really interested in reducing abortions or supporting pregnant women. He just wants to be able to show the rich, religious right that he is pro-life as he did on his Facebook page where he touted the fact that he was able to make the Hyde Amendment permanent so that taxpayer funding would not be used for if it ever had been! 

Some act like the abortion laws in this country mean anybody can get an abortion at any time for any reason. President Trump has certainly perpetuated this false idea. In fact, abortion law in this country does try to protect the unborn and perhaps it could do a bit more. But no matter how many laws we pass, women will find an abortion somewhere, somehow, with potentially deadly consequences.

Many think that if someone is pro-choice then they do not value the “potentiality of life” that a pregnancy holds and that they are pro-abortion. But being pro-choice and valuing nascent human life are not mutually exclusive. No matter how permissive the abortion laws are we all can recognize that there is eventually much value to the unborn human life. 

I know what it is to be pregnant, to see the two lines appear on that stick and the minute I did know my life would be forever changed. I know the amazing feeling of a new life growing inside of me. I know how early in a pregnancy you can feel the baby move, I have seen the beautiful ultrasound pictures of my babies. And though I am pro-choice, I would have been devastated if at any point I had lost a pregnancy.
Would I have felt as excited about my pregnancies if I was homeless or alone, poor or mentally ill? Would I still have made the choice to have my babies? I have no idea. That’s the point, I don’t know what it’s like to be pregnant in those situations. I want to try to “walk a mile” in the shoes of the women considering an abortion who find themselves with less privileged freedom than I have. I trust that my fellow women value the “potentiality of life” inside of them and want to make the best decision they can. I am not for abortion as “after-thought” birth control. I am not for abortion after true fetal viability unless the woman’s health and life are in danger. But, for women who find out their pregnancy will not survive in this world, I want them to not have to carry to term and suffer months of emotional turmoil waiting just to say good-bye.

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How about adopting the protest chant “reduce abortions, care for women; reduce abortions, care for women!” Could both sides stand together shouting this? Perhaps. What we need is to work together toward things that might actually reduce abortion and help women “choose life.” Access to free birth control of their preference (NOT TAKING IT AWAY, Rep. Reed!!!), paid maternity leave for all, universal health care, less expensive adoption, affordable childcare, and early education for all. We need high quality public schools and free college tuition. Because those babies grow up, let me tell you. 

So, I would like to propose a new “team” and invite Rep. Reed to be on it-- a team that welcomes formerly pro-life and formerly pro-choice folks to work together to support women in their choices and in their pregnancies and in motherhood. A team that recognizes these are complicated issues that affect real women. A team that does not buy into the propaganda fed us but tries to find the facts and understand. A team that recognizes that no one gets to have things 100% their own way in a democracy. I believe we can find that common ground if we try-- if we can do it over reproductive rights, we could do it over anything.


Sarah Posegate lives in Ithaca, NY with her husband, Russell, and three children. She enjoys a well placed expletive, satirical news shows, and knitting.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

This Week in the House - February 27

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Every Saturday, the Majority Leader of the House, Kevin McCarthy, whose slogan is "A new day for American Conservatism," posts the schedule of Bills and Resolutions that the House will consider in the following week.

Monday February 27:
1) H.R. 88 – Shiloh National Military Park Boundary Adjustment and Parker’s Crossroads Battlefield Designation Act (Sponsored by Rep. Marsha Blackburn / Natural Resources Committee)

2) H.R. 228 – Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Consolidation Act of 2017, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Don Young / Natural Resources Committee)

3) H.R. 699 – Mount Hood Cooper Spur Land Exchange Clarification Act (Sponsored by Rep. Greg Walden / Natural Resources Committee)

4) H.R. 863 – To facilitate the addition of park administration at the Coltsville National Historical Park, and for other purposes (Sponsored by Rep. John Larson / Natural Resources Committee)

5) S. 442 – National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2017 (Sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz / Science, Space, and Technology Committee)

6) H.R. 1033 – Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act (Sponsored by Rep. Doug Collins / Judiciary Committee)

Tuesday February 28:
H.R. 998 – SCRUB Act (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Jason Smith / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

Wednesday March 1 to Friday March 3:
H.J.Res. 83 – Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to “Clarification of Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain an Accurate Record of Each Recordable Injury and Illness” (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Bradley Byrne / Education and the Workforce Committee)

H.R. 1009 – OIRA Insight, Reform, and Accountability Act, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Paul Mitchell / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

H.R. 1004 – Regulatory Integrity Act of 2017 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Tim Walberg / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)