The Stupak Amendment (AKA the "Stunod Amendment"), which the House of Representatives passed on Saturday night, represents the greatest step backward in women's reproductive rights since the 1950s.
The Amendment not only bans use of federal funds for abortion (the Hyde Amendment already does that), it also bars private insurance companies who wish to participate in federally sponsored "insurance exchanges" from paying for abortions. Thus, the federal government is telling private insurers, who provide insurance to private, premium-paying customers, what procedures they may or may not pay for.
Talk about federal intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship. Talk about a government takeover of health care! This is an unconscionable power play by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, fundamentalist Christian groups, and all others who believe women should have no right to choose what happens to their own bodies.
It's time for American women to take charge and fight back. It's time for "the Lysistrata Solution."
In Aristophanes' play, Lysistrata convinces the other women of Greece to withhold all sexual gratification from their men until the men negotiate an end to the Peloponnesian War. Comedy ensues, but it is comedy with a serious message: men cannot make decisions that may adversely affect women's lives without the women's playing a role in the decision-making process.
Women, if you value your rights, if you value the progress that has been made since the days of back-alley, clothes-hanger abortions, you must fight back. Channeling Lysistrata, your slogan must become:
"If I can't have choice, you can't have me."
I am completely serious about this; it is not a parody or a spoof. Tell the man in your life there will be no more intimacy for him as long as there is a risk of your becoming pregnant. You are not willing to take the risk. If you are beyond childbearing age, do it anyway as a show of solidarity.
Tell your man to call his Congress critter, see a priest (for abstinence counseling!),visit an airport, blow up a doll, lend his buddy a helping hand, or make a date with Rosy Palm. But tell him not to turn to you.
Female sex workers in Washington, DC and the fifty state capitals will have a special role to play. After they collect the money from their politician-customers, they should ask the john, "Do you support the Stupak Amendment?" If the answer is, "Yes," just pocket the money, turn around and leave. On your way out, hand the customer a card that says, "In return for your support of the Stupak Amendment, you have just been screwed by Congress. I can't risk getting pregnant."
Wives, girlfriends, mistresses, and other intimate acquaintances of Congressmen who voted for the Stupak Amendment, also have a special role to play. Their job is to cut their men off completely. No choice for America's women, no choice for them. Let them suffer, as the Greeks and Spartans suffered. It may not be easy but I guarantee the women can hold out longer than the men can.Then, as the suffering salons ponder their next great move, they can consider taxing the churches that have taken their political activism to this extreme. Maybe they also will realize that the proceeds from those taxes would entirely pay for health care for all Americans.