Monday, April 21, 2014

From the Archive: Writing to Congresspeople about H.R. 3

"From the Archive" is a series of posts that I wrote on past, no-longer-updated blogs that I feel are good enough to need a new home.

This post was originally written in January 2011.

Judging by this site, my Representative is Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez. I think she's pretty lefty and is probably opposed to H.R. 3 anyway, but you never know, so I wrote a letter that I plan to send her. I guess now it counts as an open letter:

Dear Congresswoman:

Let me start by saying that I'm adamantly pro-choice. I believe that if a woman needs or wants an abortion, she should have it, no matter the circumstances. Her family, her partner, her doctor (barring legitimate medical necessity) and certainly the government should not get to dictate otherwise. It's her decision. I also believe that all reproductive health procedures - yes, including abortion - should be covered by whatever insurance the woman has. If it's private, fine, but also if it's government-based care like Medicaid. Even the procedures that make people uncomfortable should be covered.

I think that H.R. 3, which would limit access to abortion funds for rape victims based on the circumstances of the attack, is disgusting.

I'm not, at this point, a rape survivor. Luck has been on my side and I am not one of the 1 in 4 women who has been sexually assaulted.

So far.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where that could change at any time. It's something I think about when I walk home from the subway at night; when I have to cut through a park; when I meet a new man; when I get a drink at a party or a bar. Despite how cautious I am in all those situations, I could be attacked. Simply because I was born female, I have to worry about this.

John Boehner does not.

As a heterosexual, cisgendered man, the new Speaker of the House has likely never dealt with that sort of fear. He has probably never been cat-called on the street or had someone stalk him back and forth on a nearly-empty subway platform. No one will ever tell him he was asking for it; that he shouldn't have been drinking, shouldn't have accepted that ride home, or shouldn't have been wearing such a short skirt.

The same goes for most of the sponsors of the bill -- if you read the list, all but a few are male.

Congress has no business creating a hierarchy among rape survivors. All rapes are horrible, violent crimes by nature. Whether the attacker used physical force, drugs, coercion or some other method doesn't matter. Rape is rape, a crime is a crime, and a survivor deserves the dignity of having all options available to her (I say her, because while men do get raped, they will never need to seek an abortion after).

Sadly, we live in a world where I could rattle off a short list of friends I know to be rape survivors -- and I'm sure there are even more who haven't told me.

I don't know the details or circumstances for all of them -- and I don't need to. Each of them, along with all other survivors, deserves the same -- justice, of course, but also access to all the treatment they need and choose to have, including abortion. No matter how they got there.

And if my luck runs out and I am ever attacked, I would demand the same.

So I urge you to respect all sexual assault victims and preserve their dignity by voting NO to H.R. 3. It is a horrifying, appalling and unnecessary bill that will ultimately harm more people than it could ever help.

I urge everyone to write to their representatives about this. No matter who they are, but especially if you live in a district represented by one of the people who support this bill. Especially if you can inform them that next time you are in the voting booth, where they stood on this bill may influence what lever you pull (or button you push, or whatever).

Also, if you click on the link above and look at the full text, at least four of the sponsoring Representatives are women. That just makes my soul ache.

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