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Students must spread awareness about Stupak-Pitts amendment

On December 2, 2009, women from all across the United States demanded for the Senate to say NO to STUPAK through a National Day of Action organized by reproductive justice organizations across the country. Action events consisted of rallies, protests and calls to our Senators, asking them to urge Congress to remove the Stupak-Pitts amendment from the final Senate bill for health care reform.

The Stupak amendment would jeopardize the health and well-being of women and would eliminate abortion coverage for both private and public health plans. As a young woman of color, I demand that the Senate and the White House take bold action to make sure we preserve women’s health and access to abortions for ALL women, especially immigrant and low-income women and families who are the most disenfranchised in our communities.

In my personal experience, I have faced many barriers in accessing quality, affordable, and comprehensive reproductive health care and I know I am not alone in this. Mills students, if this seems accurate, then please tell your Senators about these barriers! What is the point of providing health insurance for more people if we can’t include basic women’s reproductive health care? Basic reproductive health is access to abortion services.

Women and families need abortion coverage in the health-care bill. Low-income women, immigrant women, queer women, women of color; we all need access to abortion in the bill!

Health reform should be about quality, affordable health care that includes abortion services, not about politics and ideology. Listen to youths and listen to women!

If you want to say NO to Stupak, it’s not too late! ACCESS/Women’s Health Rights Coalition has organized instructions on how YOU can take action for women’s health and reproductive justice:

1. Dial 1-877-264-4226

2. If dialing in, connect to talk to your Senators and provide your zip code.

3. If connecting via the LINK, you will be directed to a page where you can
enter your phone number and be directly connected to your Senators and
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

4. Tell your own story! If you prefer to, however, you can say:

My name is _____ ________, and I am calling today to ask that you work to prevent and oppose any provisions that will keep women and immigrants from obtaining the health care they need and deserve in the health care reform bills.

We ask that you continue to oppose any further restrictions on reproductive health coverage, including abortion services. Women’s health must be protected.

We must also make sure that all people who live in this country can access affordable, quality, culturally appropriate care. I ask that you work to remove the five-year waiting period on lawful immigrants and ensure the new health insurance exchange does not exclude anyone, regardless of their immigration status.

This debate must be about how we can support the health of women, their families and communities.

Please pass a health care reform bill that will work for everyone.
Thank you for your time.

5. Repeat. Dial 1-877-264-4226 again to connect to your other Senator. To connect with Senate Majority Leader Reid, call 202-224-354 and press 1 to speak to a staff member in his office.

6. If you can’t get through the first time, try again! The well-being of women and immigrants depends on your calls!

7. Tell your friends and family to do the same.

—Chibo Shinagawa, senior