Thursday, July 22, 2010

An Open Letter From a Feminist to Obama

The anonymous feminist blogger of the Choices Campus Leadership Program blog wrote an open letter to President Barack Obama. An executive order was issued by Obama barring federal tax dollars from the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans. PCIP is used for high risk pregnancies. The President's executive order is endangering the health of women. The Dpartment of Health and Human Services issued this press release.

As is the case with FEHB plans currently, and with the Affordable Care Act and the President's related Executive Order more generally, in Pennsylvania and in all other states abortions will not be covered in the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) except in the cases of rape or incest, or where the life of the woman would be endangered.

Our policy is the same for both state and federally-run PCIP programs. We will reiterate this policy in guidance to those running the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan at both the state and federal levels. The contracts to operate the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan include a requirement to follow all federal laws and guidance.

HHS spokeswoman Jenny Backus is being disingenuous. High risk pools are made for patients with a history of pre-existing conditions. The women Obama will be denying abortion coverage to have a history of medical problems. Abortions won't be covered until the woman's life is at risk of dying. That is insane.

Previously, state exchanges would be allowed to cover abortion. The catch is no federal money would be used. Republicans and the pro-life movement voiced their displeasure and Obama caved. We don't hear conservatives screaming about state rights over Obama's executive order.

Jessica Arons of the Center of American Progress makes a fantastic legal argument.

A common method of legal interpretation posits that when items in a legal document are specifically listed, they exclude any items that are not mentioned unless there is a catch-all statement that says unenumerated items are not excluded. Case in point: the Ninth Amendment says of the Bill of Rights, “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” That means the Constitution can be interpreted to contain rights that are not explicitly designated.

The executive order mentions nothing about Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans. Nor does the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Obama is denying women there legal right to an abortion and overstepping his own executive order. Instances like this is why I felt like puking yesterday when I received an Organizing For America e-mail titled "Change."

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