Pence Amendment And HR3

Completely switching gears for a moment, I just want to say something personal as Vicki Weinstein.

I am incredibly depressed and angry right now about the war on women being fought right now in Congress.

I cannot believe that so many of my sisters and brothers are falling for the misleading information, inflammatory rhetoric, skewed facts and “moral” outrage of the conservative right who support the Pence Amendment to defund Planned Parenthood (and 102 affiliated organizations).

Have you been keeping up with this, I hope?

Here’s a good article by Daily Kos.

I am working on a form letter that I will post on my PeaceBang Facebook page that I hope many readers across the country will send to their local newspapers. I hope everyone will call their senators. I am not sure when the Senate vote will happen.

I am also unclear on the status of HR3, which you can read about here. Public outcry against the attempt of sponsors of the bill to redefine rape caused them to drop the word “forcible” from the proposed language. Here is the outline from Open Congress.

Activism was never my strong suit because my brain doesn’t naturally attach itself to the way the political process works, but over my years in ministry I have learned how to make my voice heard. I think it is a moral imperative. It is a moral imperative not to be taken by sound bites and emotional manipulators (or by the entrapment tactics of groups like Live Action), but to learn for myself what is going on and what it means for ordinary women who will never make the news.

As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter what I personally feel about abortion. It matters that I do not make my personal feelings and moral beliefs into policy and inflict them on the bodies and futures of other women and their families. Planned Parenthood does provide safe abortions but it also provides pre-natal care, cancer screenings and STD screenings, infertility counseling, and contraception to 1.4 million Americans. I don’t want to have to walk by any one of those Americans on the street anywhere and feel that I did not raise my voice when their health provider was taken away by a bunch of politicians who get awesome health insurance paid for by your and my tax dollars.

I know that you don’t come to this blog for heartfelt calls to action on behalf of reproductive freedom, but on the risk of offending some of you I thought others of you might appreciate the round-up. As I said, I will be posting form letters on my Facebook page today or tomorrow. Finally, there is this, an easy way to put your opinion out there via the Religious Coalition For Reproductive Choice.

I’m sorry for not being sorry if I have offended you. 😉

21 Replies to “Pence Amendment And HR3”

  1. As a woman who struggled with infertility, the idea of an unwanted pregnancy is hard for me to understand; as someone whose family was impacted by death due to a then illegal back-alley abortion, I cannot fathom how we can blatantly legislate what has for centuries been a matter beyond the Church’s care or teaching.

    The state doesn’t ask me if I object to my tax money going to kill civilians in countries around the world —

  2. Bill, Current law prohibits health care providers from using federal money to finance abortions. Suggesting PP split would not change anything. This is about playing politics, not about saving money (which cutting funding of preventative services never does), nor about eliminating abortion (again, fund birth control and work to reduce unintended pregnancies).

    In Georgia a bill has been introduced that would legislate investigating every miscarriage that occurs (1 in 3 pregnancies end in miscarriage) to make sure the were “spontaneous”. This bill would treat every woman as a potential criminal at a time when they are already at their most emotionally vulnerable. This is a war against women plain and simple.

    Vicki, thank you for giving voice to this issue. RCRC does great work, and we need to keep speaking up and out.

  3. Vicki – Thank you for speaking on this. If/when I let myself be open to it, the war on women in our legislative bodies makes me unbearably sad and angry. I need to remember that I do, in fact, have a voice, along with an obligation to use it.

  4. I’m well aware of current law. I was a Medicaid auditor enforcing it in Wisconsin once, counting induced v spontaneous abortions for Fed Financial Participation. (Induced no payment, spontaneous we paid.) I’m asking why PP can’t split itself into two entities: one performing abortions not getting fed dollars; and another entity doing the balance of PPs business which could receive fed dollars. Yes it’s politics maybe but politics is how civilized people resolve things I’m afraid.

  5. Go the activism and advocacy! I believe as Christians we should be actively involved in supporting all and any minorities, poor people, perscecuted people etc. like Jesus did with the woman caught in adultery, the tax collectors, the story of the good Samaritan, the bleeding woman etc. He was all about loving the outcasts and didn’t stuff Christian teaching down their throats. His strong criticism was for the self righteous religious leaders!

    There’s horrid stuff going on in New Zealand at the mo. and I’m writing to various folk about it in some small effort to promote compassion, peace and real justice (rather than revenge and punishment). [You mean in addition to the natural disasters or in relation to just plain politics? – PB]

  6. Why shouldn’t Planned Parenthood split? Because it would increase the costs to operate both parts and its enemies would have an easier time going after both parts. After all, they’re already prevented from getting funding for abortion; the animus already exists.

    “Divide and conquer” isn’t meant to be a self-inflicted wound.

  7. The animus exists in a big way. I know plenty of people of varied political stripes, some quit Liberal…lots of progressive Catholics in Chicago, who think abortion is murder. I see a clash of rights and I accept the unborn child has some kind of rights at some point, just as a woman has a right to control what’s done to her body. If a simple solution is splitting the organization even at some “cost”, I’d say go for it and find it inexplicable that PP doesn’t.

  8. Boy, leave it to a conservative man to suck all the air out of the room and shut down conversation. Gee Bill, you don’t suppose that the thousands of clergy women reading this blog don’t know what you know?

    MEANWHILE, back in the world of not making assumptions about women’s lack of awareness/intelligence, shall we continue the conversation?

    How about the new legislation in Georgia that would require an investigation into every MISCARRIAGE?

  9. Thank you, PB, for speaking up in your pastoral and prophetic role about the assault on women’s options and funding. Planned Parenthood is not being attacked in isolation, as you point out. All actions that put a greater burden on the poor are disproportionately affecting women and their children. Theologian and ethicist Beverly Harrison made a compelling framework for these issues when she wrote of women as moral agents, who can and must have the opportunity to make choices for themselves. Yet again and again someone wants to legislate these things and remove the power to make these choices, or the means to make choices, from those most impacted. Remember the early feminist slogan, “The Personal is Political!”?? Time to take these attacks personally!

  10. One of the realities framing this debate is that most of us are too young to remember when abortion was illegal in the United States. We do not remember friends who died with coat hangers sticking out. We do not remember the quacks who performed abortions in secret locations and killed women when complications arose.

    An elderly parishioner, now dead, once told me that when she discovered in the nineteen-fifties that she was pregnant she tried repeatedly to miscarry by jumping and landing on her belly. It did not work, by the way and her child grew up knowing that he was unwanted. She was married at the time.

    Thanks Vicki for letting us know.

  11. Bill, it’s called derailing the conversation with a hypothetical, and we know what you’re doing. Seriously. It’s unattractive.

    Although — because I am always one to see both sides of an issue — it does have the benefit of letting people know you’re not arguing in good faith, thereby saving them the time of engaging with you.

    This is outrageous, PeaceBang, and exactly what a minister ought to be speaking about today. This is not about abortion. This is about denying care to the very people Jesus tasked his followers with caring for.

  12. Where’s the hypotheical? Where’s the bad faith? Abortion one of the most fundamental of moral issues. A woman, as does a man, has the right to control the medical procedures performed on her body. A woman cannont be asked to risk her own life in pregancy. So where are the limits on this right given at some point the child becomes viable outside the womb. These are real questions faced by lay people in our lives. Clergy should give us some answers and guideance.

  13. PS as for the history, Yes, I remember those years. Consider though what technology is doing to use too with these ultra sound pictures of our grand kids on our fridges. The same technology that is making life viable outside the womb at increasingly early stages. There are uncomfortable issues here that aren’t going to go away for people. I respect that.

  14. We all know that. We are all seeing the same images and affected by the same technology. You’re de-railing the conversation again. Please step off. This was never a conversation about fetal viability. It is a conversation about legislation. This is also a blog for clergy. You’re trolling here and you know it.

  15. What really upsets me about this situation is the hypocrisy of these legislators who are attempting to put an acceptable face on unacceptable behavior. If their concern is really about the economy (let’s save money be de-funding Planned Parenthood), then why aren’t they supporting legislation to create jobs or increase the minimum wage?

    This is an attempt to put women back where they belong — in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant.

    If it were really about preventing abortions (after all, no one is pro-abortion — don’t we all wish it weren’t necessary?), they would be increasing the funding for Planned Parenthood and other agencies that are providing low-cost and accessible birth control. Better access to birth control is what’s going to decrease the number of abortions, not shaming people about their sexuality.

    These are not the kinds of comments I would make to my legislator or in a letter to the editor, but I say them here because, like PB, I am deeply upset and offended by this war on poor women and children.

    While it’s true that technological advances have made this issue a lot more nuanced than it used to be, it still comes down to legislation based on personal religious beliefs and personal ethics being proposed to control other people’s lives. I think that there’s room for the pro-choice movement to acknowledge the moral difficulty of abortion while continuing to insist that the government protect poor women by providing them with decent birth control and some damn dignity, for heaven’s sake.

  16. My late mother had a high school class mate who bled to death from an illegal abortion on a kitchen table in Harlem in 1948. This is why she and her agemates were so pro choice they had been young in a time when this happened to young women regularly.
    Those like myself (Roe v Wade came in when I was in prep school) need to tell younger women these stories so they will know why we need to protect this. If pushed underground, we will be back to women dying

  17. Thanks bill–I’ve been annoyed with pp for their failure to take the moral high ground and lack of decent marketing, but you’ve just convinced me to give them money again. Thanks!

  18. Friends,

    I live in the Indiana district represented by Mike Pence. I also have friends in nursing who work for Planned Parenthood. 99.9% of their work involves STD screeening (for both women and men), contraception, and women’s reproductive health care. The kind of legislation from Mr. Pence is par for the course from him. In the years he has represented my district he has struck me as driven by ideology, and dogmatic in his assertions.

    I would also point out that in Indiana there is parallel state legislation to yank public health grants from Planned Parenthood. The funds would likely be directed to other “crisis pregnancy agencies” that never perform abortions. But in Indiana, most of those alternatives were founded and supported by the Religious Right. Those other agencies tend to provide services limited to crisis pregnancy counseling, and pre-natal nutrition. Those agencies usually do not perform STD screening, provide access to contraception, or provide other women’s reproductive health services (eg. cervical cancer screening). For low income women in my part of Indiana, who tend not to have health insurance, Planned Parenthood is a lifeline.

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