Behavior in recent weeks tells us and the American voters a lot about core values. We in the prochoice community stayed true to our core values, seeking to overcome the struggles ordinary Americans have making ends meet. These struggles mean that many cannot afford basic healthcare or have to choose between maintaining their health and paying for other basic necessities. The antichoice lobby, with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and its Office of Prolife Activities at the helm, has shown that it is willing to stop at nothing to ensure that its own views, which are shared by very few Americans, held sway. This lobby, aided by the 64 Democrats who voted to insert unfounded red herrings into a critical life-and-death debate over the basic right of access to healthcare, exploited the vulnerabilities of the Democratic Party.
This is only the first salvo in the bishops’ campaign against women’s health. Just imagine for a moment what healthcare will look like when the bishops are finished. There will be absolutely no access to abortion—even in cases of rape or incest. Women will be detained in prison if it is thought they want to travel abroad for an abortion. There will be no IVF. No contraception. No treatment for ectopic pregnancy or medical anomalies during pregnancy. No respect for your advance medical directives and no use of cures gained through stem-cell research. There will be nothing that doesn’t meet the myriad litmus tests prescribed by a small group of men who don’t represent American Catholics, let alone the America populace.
We hope that, as this struggle continues, Congress realizes that those who want to destroy the possibility of meaningful healthcare reform may have employed good lobbyists, but ultimately the voters will take down all those who betray the needs of the people for short-term political gains. President Obama was elected just one short year ago on a prochoice ticket. If the electorate sees that a woman’s right to choose is not a core value but simply a bargaining chip to be laid on the table when the going gets tough, there will be a price to pay.
We call on the Democratic leadership and all of our elected representatives to put forward healthcare reform that can be endorsed by the American people, not just the US bishops.