On Thursday, the news broke that the Obama administration included a ban on abortion coverage that basically meets the notorious Stupak restrictions that had been the focus of attention months ago within the health care reform debates. This means that the compromise that was satisfactory enough to the anti-abortion Democrats months ago to push through the “reform” has been surpassed with this measure; leaving many pro-choice activists asking “why did he do that? he didn’t have to!”
Here’s the answer, women, short and sweet: Obama is not your friend, advocate, or representative. He represents the US empire. And while the Democrats’ program has some significant differences compared to the Republicans, when faced with the pressure of maintaining social cohesion “at home” while sustaining years of occupation in 2 countries, ongoing military strikes in at least one other (Pakistan), extreme economic instability and the prospects of domestic upheaval from those committed to racism, religious obscurantism, the subordination of women in every public sphere and ignorant answers to every important question of the day (from the destruction of the Gulf to the ongoing economic crisis), who do you think he’s going to go to bat for? You? Sorry to break it to you, but you are easy to throw under the bus. Your faithful loyalty to the Democrats (“ask Obama why?”) means you will never get the change you need and want.
For more on what this new ban means, here’s the ACLU:
“[T]he White House has decided to voluntarily impose the ban for all women in the newly-created high risk insurance pools. What is disappointing is that there is nothing in the law that requires the Obama administration to impose this broad and highly restrictive abortion ban. It doesn’t allow states to choose to cover abortion and it doesn’t even give women the option to buy abortion coverage using their own money…
Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.
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“Unless the Administration reverses this decision, some of America’s most vulnerable women—those with pre-existing conditions who have been denied health care coverage on the individual market—won’t be able to purchase abortion coverage except in the case of rape or incest or to save the pregnant woman’s life.”
Above: Operation Save America in action in front of Charlotte clinic. The shirt reads: Jesus is the Judge, therefore:
Abortion is Murder
Homosexuality is a Sin
Islam is a Lie
Evolution is a Delusion
Feminism is Rebellion
Liberalism is a False Religion
Conservatism is Pretend Salt
Meanwhile, in Charlotte, NC, violent anti-abortion activists affiliated with Operation Save America are gathering for a week of protests aimed at closing down the long-standing clinic there, Family Reproductive Health (there are other clinics as well, but this is the focus of their attack). On Saturday morning, 50 of them showed up (with their kids in tow), pushing their message of hate and yelling into the faces of about 14 abortion rights defenders. One anti-abortion protester was arrested when he tried to build a scaffolding against the wall of the clinic. This group of “fringe lunatics” (ones with political initiative and connections to money and power though) has been postering neighborhoods of Charlotte and stalking doctors with Family Reproductive Health – threatening not just their livelihoods but their lives, and upholding the murder of doctors like Dr. George Tiller. This mobilization continues throughout the week in Charlotte, and local organizers estimate next Saturday, the 24th will be the largest day of protest.
Then, Operation Rescue, the Wichita-based anti-abortion group with demonstrated links to the admitted murderer who killed Dr. Tiller, is sending “missionaries” to Albuquerque, NM, this summer to spearhead a new campaign targetting Dr. Curtis Boyd there. They might be hoping to tap into the whipped up anti-immigrant fascist mood in the southwest but thankfully local activists are not taking a “wait and see” approach. Already they are calling for a preemptive protest rally on July 30, and the NM Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice has started circulating a petition.
Above: in front of the clinic, World Can’t Wait’s banner reads: A fetus is not a baby… Abortion is not murder…Women are not incubators… ABORTION PROVIDERS ARE HEROES!
People on the ground in Charlotte and Albuquerque (as well as in front of countless clinics across the country) are acting to do what must be done to protect clinics from violence and threats. But the majority of the pro-choice movement, which thought that electing Barack Obama would allow a respite from the constant (and constantly slipping) struggle for the right to have control over one of the most basic decisions affecting women’s lives needs to face facts. Obama and the Democrats are in power. And power, as Fredrick Douglass said, concedes nothing without demand.