When looking at various seemingly related issues I generally try to find the underlying seed that ties all of the loose ends together. I find this helps me discover the real issue under all of the banter and details. When I look at the Pence amendment (H.R. 217), H.R. 3, and H.R 358, I believe the core issue is that people’s ideological views on abortion are affecting other’s access to necessary healthcare. Abortion is an extremely personal matter, and our views on it stem from ideologies that are often religious or spiritual in nature as it deals with the value and definition of human life. From the way I view life, I think abortion should be an option to which everyone has access. Even so, I can’t fault those with differing world views than mine, and judge their decisions, as I don’t think judgment and blind opposition accomplishes much more than reproducing its own negativity. That having been said, my acceptance of their views only goes so far, when they affect citizen’s access to necessary healthcare. Our nation is conflicted, and the decisions being made by our lawmakers are affecting our choices and our options. We are nowhere near changing people’s world views, but we do have some control over the laws that govern our choices, so let’s take a look at how these bills effect healthcare access.
H.R. 3 or The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act isn’t exactly groundbreaking in that taxpayer’s dollars have not gone toward abortion since 1976 under the Hyde Amendment. But for a time period (until an awesome wave of backlash) the bill also included a clause which attempted to redefine rape in order to bar certain rape victims from tax-funded abortions. Did the creators of this bill really want the victims of such traumatic and personal crimes to have to prove that their particular situation was unlawful enough to afford them proper care? Luckily, this measure was cut out due to people taking a stand, but the fact that this was even up for debate should prick our awareness to the mindset which is fueling this legislation.
On the heels of the H.R. 3 controversy we have H.R. 358 or the ironically titled Protect Life Act. Under this act, federally funded and abortion-opposed hospitals have the right to refuse care to pregnant women whose lives are in danger. This act would override the 1986 law EMTALA that requires hospitals to give necessary care to anyone whose life is threatened regardless of their ability to pay for the services rendered. In short, a woman could be dying, an abortion could save her, and the staff can just sit back and refuse to help. Sweet…
Lastly, we have the Pence Amendment (H.R. 217) or the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act. Title X of the Public Health Service Act provides the only federal funding that goes toward comprehensive family planning and associated preventive health services. This act would bar funding from reproductive healthcare and family planning providers such as Planned Parenthood that perform abortions. Planned Parenthood stands to lose well over $300 million dollars in funding if this passes. This would make some sense if the funding they are barring actually went to abortions, but it actually cuts off services such as exams, birth control, and STI testing that goes to people who could otherwise not afford or have access to such services.
This hits close to home as I and many other people I know use or have used Planned Parenthood (or similar organizations) for their services when we could not afford them through a general physician. We live in a country where the health care system is fraudulent and scarce, with limited options for low income citizens, and now we risk losing one of the services we actually do have.
The House passed the Pence Amendment on February 18th, leaving me and my friends in shock. I can’t believe that our representatives have let their ideologies rule over their perception to the point that they are willing to bar unrelated services from their citizens in order to make their point that abortion is wrong. Yes, I understand that they think it is wrong, but does that mean I or anyone else should not be able to get tested for HIV? This has gone too far, and we need to take a stand and not allow one issue to bleed into others which affect our quality of life. We can’t let this incredibly strong force advocating for moral justice stop us from receiving the care we need. So please stand with me and the numerous others who want to keep access to as many healthcare options as we possibly can.