Standing up for my sistahs

by d

This post is not about abortion. It does not matter where you stand on this issue. This is about respect, sexism, and rights. FYI, I will almost certainly throw out something blasphemous. The rest is political. These are all part of the discussion.

But what I really want to talk about is the lack of respect Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) has for women, their rights, and the work they do.

Bart Stupak doesn’t like nuns. Bart Stupak is an asshole.

On March 17th, NETWORK: A Nation Catholic Social Justice Lobby, a group that represents over 59,000 nuns (Yes, nuns.) sent a letter to members of Congress in support of the health care bill.

The women of this organization have decided to support the bill because,

We have witnessed firsthand the impact of our national health care crisis, particularly its impact on women, children and people who are poor. We see the toll on families who have delayed seeking care due to a lack of health insurance coverage or lack of funds with which to pay high deductibles and co-pays. We have counseled and prayed with men, women and children who have been denied health care coverage by insurance companies. We have witnessed early and avoidable deaths because of delayed medical treatment. [emphasis added]

Nuns still do a lot of good work. They run schools and hospitals, and play an active role in helping the homeless, the disabled, and the poor. They, like doctors and nurses and other health professionals, witness the failures of the medical system every day. They see the need for reform.

They also haven’t been listening to the conservative talking points.

And despite false claims to the contrary, the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions. It will uphold longstanding conscience protections and it will make historic new investments – $250 million – in support of pregnant women. This is the REAL pro-life stance, and we as Catholics are all for it.

Full Text: http://www.networklobby.org/press/3-17-10HealthcareSistersLetter.htm

Their phrasing made my heart lift. I have long felt the abortion debate neglects the lives of the people who are already living. “Pro-lifers” are quick to condemn a mother, her spouse, and their current children to an uncomfortable, miserable life–or no life, in cases where the mother dies from complications. Shouldn’t pro-life mean pro- all life?

Bart Stupak, author of the infamous Stupak Amendment, which seeks to prohibit government-funded health insurance from funding abortions, was asked what he thought of the letter. For the record, Stupak is Catholic.

The quote is from FoxNews, about a conservative, who have no reason to make him look bad. I don’t like that all sources point back to this one page, but as I said, Fox has no reason to undermine Stupak. He’s a conservative Democrat, pro-life, and doing his part to stop the health care bill.

The conservative Democrat dismissed the action by the White House saying, “When I’m drafting right to life language, I don’t call up the nuns.” He says he instead confers with other groups including “leading bishops, Focus on the Family, and The National Right to Life Committee.”

Translation: When I’m doing something important, I don’t talk to women, I call the guys who own real shit, not a bunch of free clinics.

Nuns do the charitable work most people don’t want to touch. For all the terrible things I can (and have) said about the Catholic church and how/why it even created nuns, I will say this. These women are dedicated, they work hard, and they deserve respect.

Stupak swept them aside as completely insignificant. Worse, he cited bishops (can only be men, often with money), and Focus on the Family (a fundamentalist Christian organization founded by James Dobson, who believe in “Biblical” gender roles and now makes masses of money talking about it). Who do they have in common? Men imposing the rules set down thousands of years ago on women who are not their kin. Men who don’t spend nearly the same amount of time with their hands in the dirt, actually helping people. Very wealthy men. Men who make statements, sway opinions, and pay lobbyists. Apparently guns in fancy clothes have a much better understanding of what women need.

Fuck you, Bart Stupak. If you were ever taught my nuns, they didn’t use their rulers often enough. These women work hard, and they love and obey the same god you do. They have dedicated their lives to both. And you dismiss them?

Go fuck yourself. You’re not allowed to be part of this debate anymore.

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