Hilary Clinton’s Call To Arms

In Yesterday’s New York Times, Senator Hilary Clinton issued a call-to-arms for those that supports women’s rights, in an op-ed column about the Bush Administration’s attempt at limiting the options of women’s healthcare.  Read her piece here.

This is not news to me.  I’ve been following this for over a month now, carefully watching this conservative attack on women’s reproductive rights for over a month now, ever since reading the Boston Globe‘s article on the subject (plus Marie Cocco‘s article, as I read in the Ashbury Park Press).  But somehow, it all got lost in the activity over the conventions and the surge of Palin scandals.

Well, since the time for public commentary on this measure is running out (it expires on September 25), now’s the time to speak up.  And why isn’t the mainstream media covering this more or pressing the candidates about it?  Oh, that’s right. . .because they suck.

I’m not going to re-argue Roe v. Wade; it was over and done before I was even so much a twinkle in a glass of Jack Daniel’s.  Besides, no matter what your stance on abortion (which you should feel free to keep to yourself), it is the law in this country that women have a choice and have access to birth control.  As I understand, it is also currently the law in this country that health-service providers inform their patients of all medical options available to the patient, not just the ones that they like.  The new rules would do away with that, allowing doctors and providers to pick and choose which services they want people to receive, according to their own ideologies.  Due to its vague language, it also opens the doors for providers to deny treatment or options to people for any reason they like:  race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, anything.

This is an end-run around two things.

First, it’s an attempt to curb abortion and get around Roe v. Wade, which, let me remind you, is the law.  It sickens me to see our executive branch try to get around the laws it is supposed to be enforcing (and yes, I have been quite ill for the past 8 years, thank you).  How can a patient make an informed choice if the doctor doesn’t give them all the information?  I’ve said it before and I will say it again: denial of information is denial of choice.  It’s even worse than that, because providers won’t be required to prescribe birth control if requested, as the vague rules leave room for the interpretation that birth control is a form of abortion.  If language like that makes it into the law books, it’s not hard to see more laws that in effect overturn Roe v. Wade without actually overturning it (in the same manner that laws banning indoor smoking and adding taxes to cigarettes discourage it without actually making smoking illegal) coming down the Republican pike.  The argument made by the Administration is that this is being done to protect the conscience of the providers and prevent them from providing information and performing services that they find personally distasteful.  I say that they are already protected by one simple maxim:  if you don’t like your job, quit.

Second, it gets around the Declaration Of Geneva, adopted as a revision of the Hippocratic Oath.  While neither is actually obligatory anymore, the majority of medical schools still use some modernized form of the Oath (the classical version bans general practitioners from surgery, abortion, and euthanasia) for students, as a dedication to the causes of medicine and public service.  Whichever version you go with, some form of the following clause, taken from the Declaration of Geneva, is present:

I will not permit considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient.

Well.  Abortion is certainly a political issue, women are the ones most affected by these new rules (that covers gender), and I would definitely say that religion falls under “any other factor.”  The new rules give the providers who use them a free license to fail in their duty to their patients, and that is a very very bad thing.

To all the women who support this suppression of women’s rights, I can’t help but think of you as being 21st-century kin to the black slaveowners (yes, they existed) of the 1800s – eagerly participating in the oppression of those most like yourselves, hiding behind religion, the other greatest tool for oppressing women worldwide, as a reasoning for your actions. . .and a reason that has no place in a country where church and state are separate.  At least the black slaveowners were in it for money.

It’s a free country, for all its citizens.  Let’s keep it that way.  Speak up; don’t let your rights be taken away by religious fundamentalists. . .of any nationality.

VS – 09.19.08


2 Responses to “Hilary Clinton’s Call To Arms”

  1. Our government has become so invasive of our constitutional rights, it no longer surprises me to hear this. Sad.


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