Friday, September 11, 2009

The Intermingling of Disappointment and Optimism

How long, oh how long will it take people to regard abortion as a medical procedure? This really is a blow. Obama's plan, as it turns out, will not provide any funding for abortions and presumably would not count it as a covered medical procedure in the government healthcare option nor in the mandates to be laid out for insurance companies. I've imbedded the video in here and it's definitely worth a watch in its entirety, but that particular blow to the fight for reproductive justice comes comes at around 27:20 in the speech. Also, if you'd prefer just to read what the president says and forgo all the hoopla, you can read a transcript here.

This, of course, all stems from the roadblocks that still stand in front of us with regard to the previous post. Abortion is the great unmentionable. It's taboo. Many of its supporters feel uncomfortable with the topic. It's something some other person does, and as such, that keeps abortion from moving away from a shadowy existence.

The bottom line is that much of the country (this includes, apparently, the federal government) does not view abortion as something purely medical. Imagine what a disconnect we'd experience if President Obama stood up and said, "Just to clear up any misunderstandings, none of your tax dollars will be used to fund chemotherapy."

So, as the title of this post suggests, I find myself conflicted. It's a great humanistic boon for me, personally, that the country finally seems on a course to ensure this human right for every citizen-- yet it still stigmatizes reproductive health despite the fact that empowering women and giving them choice, both in our country and elsewhere, has proven to be one of the most effective means of eliminating poverty and, to tout a great conservative notion, helping people to help themselves.

Healthcare reform is surely something around which we can rally, let's just be sure to have the courage to continue to speak frankly about about our cause. We've got to do our part to shine the light on choice because society wants to keep it subdued and quiet in the shadows.

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