Friday, December 11, 2009

Letter to my Senators

Dear Senators Bunning and McConnell,

I do not believe we have met. By which I mean, how dare you assume your position as my Senator entitles you to make my health care decisions for me. Earlier this week, you both stood in staunch support for the Nelson-Hatch amendment, an amendment that would keep struggling women like me from making decisions about my health care.

Let me elaborate: my husband, our family's breadwinner, works full time for a company that helps provide my family with decent health insurance. Unlike many Americans, I have few complaints about the insurance I carry. My children have top-notch pediatric care, emergency coverage, and dental. My husband and I both have preventative care, low emergency deductibles, and affordable copays. We paid very little out of pocket for the birth of our children, which is wonderful considering my last birth ended in a complicated c-section. This is not to say the insurance provider is not facing its own financial obstacles, which is why the Stupak-Pitts amendment in the House and its Senate counterpart troubled me. In the event the insurance company decided to become federally subsidized, my personal health benefits, from a private insurer, would be limited. And why? Because I am a woman. Because my health care is not my own business. Because legislators like the two of you believe the government should have the power to regulate the kind of health care I can access for myself. And all this from two Senators who routinely run attack ads condemning government intervention in private lives!!

Senators, I am no lawyer. I am a part-time pre-school teaching assistant with children of my own and a mortgage the size of Texas. I cannot fully grasp the interworkings of our government, much less the novel-sized health care bill now in consideration. My understanding of legal text is limited, but I have friends who work in health legislation and law. These friends have made it abundently clear to me that the Nelson-Hatch amendment, which you both supported, would not only limit abortion coverage in my health plan in the event my insurer became federally-subsidized: the language is such that my ability to make decisions regarding contraception or even pregnancy and birth would be severely limited, all because my insurance company decided, without my family's consent, to receive federal subsidy. Why the massive assault on women's health? Abortion is legal in this country, so why do you continue to strike down efforts to provide women with better access to choice?

Senators, I am not only writing for myself. I am writing for my daughter who will grow up in a world where her body is the basis for political attack, where my son's future family will be forced to make reproductive decisions based not on their personal preference, but on the way financial restriction dictates them to live.


Shepherdsville, KY

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