Last night the House of Representatives passed comprehensive health care reform, and this morning the liberal interwebz are all a-twitter with happy, giddy, messages. We finally passed something! Yay for Obama! Yay for progressives! I get that response, and I really, really, REALLY wish it were my own. Because I am so glad that this legislation gives coverage to so many more people, and puts in place truly important reforms on the insurance industry, and safeguards the health of millions of children. I really am glad about that.

But I just can’t quite get to my happy place, because this important, historic legislation was made possible only by throwing reproductive choice under the proverbial bus. While the Stupak amendment didn’t make it into the bill, the Nelson compromise did, and that is bad, bad news for anyone who cares about reproductive rights. So while I would love to be doing happy dances of joy about passing health care reform, I find that what I really am is angry. I’m angry that Democratic legislators and presidents are so willing to cave on this issue, that it so easily becomes a bargaining chip. I’m angry at being made to feel a spoilsport for not being able to “look past” the choice issue to see the bigger picture. I’m angry that the choice issue isn’t a part of the bigger picture. I’m pissed that reproductive rights were compromised for something that falls far short of universal coverage. I’m really goddamn angry that Senators Nelson and Stupak think it’s any of their fucking business what I decide to do with my body. I’m unbelievably angry that this new legislation enshrines wealthy privilege by making it nearly impossible for any but the moneyed classes to get abortion coverage. But most of all, I’m angry that I don’t get to be joyful about this moment in history. I have great capacity for joy, y’all. I do. And I’m not trying to be sanctimonious about this – I know that many of you reading this share my discomfort with the restrictions on reproductive health, and are managing to be happy about this legislation anyway. And maybe as the days go by, I’ll get there, too. But this morning I’m just angry … and wishing I could look forward to a time when women’s bodies weren’t casualties in the battle for “greater” progressive gains.

6 responses to “Angry

  1. Anger is a very appropriate reaction to this. I am focused on the big picture and the fact that Pres. Obama could ditch the Executive Order, so it may not last forever – but (as always) I appreciate your perspective and love your honesty. There’s so much here to be angry about, without a doubt.

  2. I’m mostly angry that all the Republicans I know or see or hear or read are acting like the world has ended b/c this passed, and yet it’s not even what really needed to pass. (Meaning, it’s not a “full win” for Democrats, either, given all the compromises.) But to be honest? Overall I’m really relieved it passed, and I AM happy about it. I feel defeated about the rest. It’s never going to be equal or fair regarding reproductive rights in this country, I honestly don’t think. Therefore I am happy with what I can get. However, what bums me out most is how badly the media and the country seems to think Obama is doing as President. I still believe in him, and I still think he’s doing the best he can (pragmatic as necessary) with the biggest mess imaginable that he inherited.

  3. I hear you. I am surprised I am not happier that the legislation passed — and there are a number of reasons of course — although I know I would also be pissed off if it didn’t. It’s like being offered an apple with a worm.

  4. Thanks for being mad. I can be happy anyway because the country has tilted so far to the right that ANY progressive legislation is a miracle. But poor women who are unwillingly pregnant are the reason I give so heavily to Planned Parenthood. And then there’s the added problem of so few abortion providers in the country, which nothing in this legislation could possibly fix anyway. Still, you’re right to be mad. We gotta keep on slogging.

  5. I’m with you 100%. Why are our LEGAL reproductive rights a bargaining chip? That’s insane.

    I am happy about this small step, but I won’t be satisfied until we have universal coverage, peferably a single-payer system.

    And all those ignorant teabaggers need to recognize that any attempts to legally crawl into someone’s womb is the ULTIMATE in government instrusion.