Quick hit: The body politic
A quick hit only because no one could say this any better than the incredible Dorothy Roberts (whose extraordinary book, Killing the Black Body, is currently inspiring my Master’s thesis).
Abortion restrictions included in the health care reform bills under Congressional consideration have been the center of the feminist blogosphere since Bart Stupak hung his amendment in the House, but in the bill all along was state authorization to radically intervene in the reproductive lives of poor women.
The House health care bill (H.R. 3962), contains a provision affecting Medicaid recipients who are pregnant for the first time or who have a child under two years of age. Section 1713 allows States to use Medicaid funds for non-medical home visits by nurses to advance certain goals affecting reproductive decisions and family life. The goals include: “increasing birth intervals between pregnancies,” “reducing maternal and child involvement in the criminal justice system,” “increasing economic self-sufficiency,” and “reducing dependence on public assistance.”Apparently, we only need to panic about government interventions in our lives if they affect White men. When they affect women–and especially women of color–meh, no bigs.
These goals of the home visitation program have nothing to do with providing health care. Instead, they are based on the false premise that poor mothers’ childbearing is to blame for social problems. The proposed visitation program is eugenicist, deceptive, discriminatory against low-income women, and utterly inappropriate to the medical work of nurses.
Read the rest of Roberts’ analysis, read her book, and call your Members of Congress to tell them that restricting the reproductive rights of any woman is not an acceptable position. Access to health care needs to be universal; when policies like these are attached, we know it won’t be. Fight for better.