It’s Not About Who Pays. It’s About Respect


Pro-choice clergy in the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice network are outraged at the lack of respect for women’s lives implicit in HR 3 – the deceptively named “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” introduced by Rep. Chris Smith. The injustice of this bill is appalling. Simply, it fails to acknowledge the worth – in religious terms, the sacredness – of women’s lives. In that respect, it is immoral.

RCRC’s new Insure Women, Ensure Our Future campaign is dedicated to exposing the true purpose of this and other bills that purport to prevent taxpayer money from being spent on abortion. These bills are being introduced as states are beginning to develop insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. It’s obvious that opponents of women’s comprehensive health care are using the insurance exchanges as opportunities to further restrict access to abortion for all women.

Regarding HR 3, the message that pro-choice clergy and people of faith want Congress to hear is that “this deceptively named bill is not about who pays for an abortion. It is about a lack of respect for the sacredness of women’s lives and a lack of trust for women who are in the difficult situation of considering abortion.”

Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Unitarian Universalist clergy and others have endorsed the powerful statement that RCRC is delivering to Congress. These clergy and leaders of faith communities – who hold diverse views about abortion – find this bill to be an affront to the reverence for human dignity that is at the core of so many of our faith traditions.

Compassion is a sacred value in our religious traditions. Women who have survived rape or incest deserve health care services, including abortion, even if they don’t have the means to pay for them. Women whose lives are threatened deserve appropriate health care and to not be turned away from a hospital. Vulnerable women who cannot afford health insurance deserve comprehensive care.

In school and in our religious traditions we learn about the hallowed promise of our nation to respect diverse religious views. This includes religious views on the appropriateness of abortion. Those who want to impose their views should know that they violate the trust that women and men have placed in the law to protect their access to health services.

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  • plume-assassine

    Thank you, Rev. Dr. Veazey, for speaking out!

    Women who have survived rape or incest deserve health care services, including abortion, even if they don’t have the means to pay for them

    This stood out to me. It’s about respecting and honoring survivors. Women who are twice victims (of both poverty and rape) deserve the same healthcare that middle-class & affluent women have. No one group should have an abortion “privilege” while allowing other women to suffer and die. This is what HR3 aims to do, and it is immoral, either way you look at it (whether one is religious or non-religious.)

  • freetobe

    Finally someone has acknowledged this bill for what it really is. I am really grateful. I have been seriously damaged by the Catholic faith and their anti-women views and this bill says pretty much the same thing as the Pope and the Vatican have been saying that a womens life is not worth saving fi she can’t give birth successfully. Extremely harmful  and hurtful to all women, We are more, much more than baby machines. I found this out after the birth of my daughter who was definitely wanted!

  • progo35

    Frankly, I think that this is all the response of people who want there to be loopholes for the taxpayer funding of elective abortion.  The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion specifically makes exceptions for rape and cases in which the mother’s life is in jeapoardy, so this whole column is based on a deceptive premise. Moreover, it doesn’t matter how religious or non religious someone is-anyone who argues that the fetus is not a life is ignoring the biological info we have about the fetus.

  • progo35

    Frankly, I think that this is all the response of people who want there to be loopholes for the taxpayer funding of elective abortion.  The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion specifically makes exceptions for rape and cases in which the mother’s life is in jeapoardy, so this whole column is based on a deceptive premise. Moreover, it doesn’t matter how religious or non religious someone is-anyone who argues that the fetus is not a life is ignoring the biological info we have about the fetus.

  • purplemistydez

    Your wrong.  This is about trying to further restrict abortion based on taking away rights from women.  The provision would not allow anyone to use their money from insurance to get an abortion.  We never argued that a fetus is not life.  A fetus is not a baby.  Until it can survive outside a woman’s body, it is her’s to choose to provide sustenance or terminate.

  • alumiere

    I lost my faith in much of organized religion many years ago. It’s always good to be reminded that not every religious person or group is anti-woman, anti-LGBT, anti-freedom, anti-equality.

     

    As someone who is not religious, in part because she’s queer and does not accept the teachings of so many religions on who she can be/what she can do, I struggle with remembering that. So thank you and everyone who is taking a stand for women’s and trans people’s lives on this topic.

  • ldan

    The act makes specific exceptions for federal funding of specific abortions. It says nothing about those exceptions applying to those exercising conscience clauses.

     

    It expands the definition of federal funding to unconsionably intrusive levels that will restrict the vast majority of insurers currently offering abortion as part of their coverage from continuing to offer it. It stretches the definition into areas that the vast majority of taxpayers do not think count as ‘taxpayer funding of abortions.’

     

    Nobody argues that the fetus is not a life. I’m going to quote Ta-Nehisi Coates here because I ran across this article today and it sums things up beautifully. http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/02/on-labor/70976/ “My embrace of a pro-choice stance is not built on analogizing Rick Santorum with Hitler. It is not built on what the pro-life movement is “like.” It’s built on set of disturbing and inelidable truths: My son is the joy of my life. But the work of ushering him into this world nearly killed his mother. The literalism of that last point can not be escaped.”

     

    And as noted in the comments to that article, “Motherhood can only be a volunteer army. We cannot ask women to go through something that can kill them, just because it serves someone else’s ends.” This, is the sacredness of motherhood–that women volunteer to risk their lives to bring each new life into the world. Volunteer.

     

    Viewing mothers as conscripts, as the forced birth camp does, is sad and disgusting.

  • arekushieru

    Alumiere, I am a Christian Unitarian Universalist.   I make a distinction between faith and religion.  I also believe that the bible never condemns homosexuality, abortion, transsexuality or intersexuality.  When the bible does discuss homosexuality, I firmly believe it is denouncing all forms of *infidelity*.  I also believe that intersexuality and transsexuality are not new things, like abortion. If they were going to condemn these actions then why did they not do so, in the manner in which they have always condemned such things, directly?  

  • invalid-0

    So when it’s viable, it’s a baby?  I’ve never heard that definition before.

     

    Let’s say that viability IS the line between fetus and baby.  This bill makes an exemption for cases of rape and incest, so it would only apply to abortions provided to women who already chose to get pregnant, but now would like to eliminate the child.  Right?

  • ldan

    That’s assuming that you think that having a contraceptive failure equals choosing to get pregnant; which is bullshit.

     

    Or are you trying to say that post viability abortions only happen when women chose to stay pregnant that long and then change their minds? This is also untrue. Between the women who didn’t know they were pregnant earlier, those who couldn’t get the funds for an abortion earlier, and those who learn of fetal issues somewhere in week twentysomething, you have a fair number of women who didn’t simply decide to grow a fetus for 4-5 months so they could enjoy the thrills of a midterm abortion.

     

    The bill carves out exceptions that public money can fund. In reality, it’s so hard to get those exceptions (what’s the ‘proof’ of rape here, just for starters) that they very rarely happen. They’re far rarer than those abortions that occur due to maternal health or fetal deformity (most of which also aren’t publicly funded), for example.

     

    And there’s still the fact that this bill considers health savings accounts and tax breaks to be federal funds that cannot be used for plans that provide abortion coverage. So it’s basically saying that almost all abortions need to be paid for out of pocket. This is a huge change from the current law and status quo.

     

    It also means that we can start looking at funding for a lot of other things (money that goes to religious institutions for ostensibly non-religious purposes comes immediately to mind) for places where this definition of ‘federal funding’ means that we’re supplying money for things the government isn’t supposed to fund.

     

  • julie-watkins

    Since you’re online again, I’m still wondering

    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/comment/reply/15491/58749

    I rephrased my question to hopefully be more clear: Do you believe a woman not accepting and voluntarily attempting to end a pregnancy is a larger moral problem than the systemic sexism of nature and the systemic sexism and classism of society?

    You wrote that I had mischaracterized you, but I think you misunderstood my point and question. So I restated as above.

  • prochoiceferret

    I rephrased my question to hopefully be more clear:

     

    Good luck getting an answer out of her. I can almost imagine Progo35’s (non-)response:

     

    “But… the BABY! Look at the cute, adorable BABY! How can you possibly care about systemic society stuff when someone wants to kill this individual-unique-human-person-unborn-BABY?!?”

  • julie-watkins

    Anti-abortion people almost always avoid answering that question.

    From my PoV, if a system is systemically unfair, why is it unfair to try mitigate the system? It’s not immoral to ask to reexamine the base assumptions to see if they really reflect physical reality.

  • prochoiceferret

    From my PoV, if a system is systemically unfair, why is it unfair to try mitigate the system? It’s not immoral to ask to reexamine the base assumptions to see if they really reflect physical reality.

     

    Oh, I certainly agree. But Progo35 doesn’t exactly strike me as the kind of person who would choose the red pill.

  • ahunt

    …a  circumstance generally defined by fetal abnormalities incompatible with life…in case you have not been keeping up, arex.

  • crowepps

    Progo doesn’t strike me as someone who has any familiarity with physical reality –