Why Don’t Republicans Trust Women?
Georgia Republicans are at it again, targeting women and taking away our rights. And I’m fed up.
Monday, our State Senate will vote on SB 98, a bill that will prohibit any health plan sold through the health care exchange from providing abortion coverage, for any reason except for an unconstitutional definition of “medical emergency.” It also bans abortion coverage for every single person covered by the state health benefit plan in this state.
I could go on and on about the awful intricacies of this bill—how it’s unconstitutional, how it will leave victims of horrific crimes without options, how it unfairly targets low-income women and their families, how all its authors are men and it was vetted by an all-male committee… And believe me, there is a lot wrong with this bill, and all of that deserves to be aired. But instead, I’m going to share with you why I’m taking this latest assault so personally. And then I’m going to share with you a glimmer of hope.
This week, I’ll be a happy 36 weeks pregnant. Like my mother and sisters before me, I have now experienced, and continue to do so, the highs and lows of pregnancy. Specifically, I’ve felt the fear, the absolute terror, of having to endure extra tests to see if my pregnancy was healthy.
Luckily, my son appears to be in good health. But that’s not the case for a lot of women. Unfortunately, a lot can go wrong during pregnancy, and for that reason termination may become a necessity.
And it should be covered by insurance.
As of December 2012, more than 650,000 people were covered by the State Health Benefit Plan—and the average annual pay for a state employee was $20,548. Now imagine a woman, making $20k a year, who finds out at her anatomy scan that her child is anencephalic, or without a brain, and will die at birth. How can she possibly afford the thousands of dollars that surgery will cost because Georgia Republicans think they know what’s better for her and her family than she does? Their absolute callous disregard may force women to become walking tombs.
Georgia Republicans have no right telling us what medical procedure we may or may not have. Because the truth of the matter is, not one of the men pushing SB 98 has experienced pregnancy. And not one of those men deserves the authority to make a decision for me or any other woman. And we need to call our legislators every day telling them as much, take our anger to facebook and twitter and talk about our rights with our friends and colleagues.
Simply put, we can’t let the Republicans win.
Because there is hope. And for me, my hope is in the Democratic Party right here in Georgia.
I was seven months pregnant when I started on the job as the Executive Director of the Democratic Party, and I can tell you that the leadership here didn’t bat an eye. It never crossed our Chairman’s mind that my pregnancy should be seen as a liability to my employability. Instead, he stated we should do more to model how maternity leave should be for women across our state.
Friends, this is not a small distinction. When it comes to truly supporting women and families—our parties could not be more different.
Republicans are fighting against contraception coverage, against access to health care, against privacy rights, against equal pay laws and against laws that keep women safe from discrimination.
Democrats are fighting for laws that protect and empower women, laws that preserve our rights to health care, demand equal pay for equal work and laws that prevent discrimination.
Our parties could not be more different when it comes to supporting women, and I’m so proud to be on the side that seeks to lift women up, rather than tear them down.
Monday, I’ll be down at the Capitol and I hope you will join me. Keep an eye out for me. I’ll be the really pregnant lady fighting back.
Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Georgia