Sunday, January 30, 2011

Writing to Congresspeople about H.R. 3

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.


  1. i found you through jezebel
    you write a damn fine letter!
    thank you for sharing it...


  2. Amazingly well said.

    Thank you for writing and sharing.


  3. I am a registered Republican, but after what the GOP has been up to lately--even if it's just a group of pushy radicals--is making me seriously consider changing my party affiliation. I am ashamed to be represented by these a$$holes.

  4. This is what I wrote to my rep:

    "Dear Rep McGovern,

    I woud like to voice my opposition to H.R. 3, which would limit access to abortion funds for rape victims based on the circumstances of the attack.

    Who are the people who are most distressed at an unwanted or untenab le pregnancy: poor women. I remember back in the 70's a friend and her husband had to wait the whole 9 mos and give birth naturally to a fetus who had no skull because they could not afford pregnancy termination or find a Dr. willing to help them.

    I, in my lifetime, have had 6 friends who were forcibly raped-not "date rape", I mean "jump-out-of-the-bushes-with-a-knife-at-your-throat-rape".

    Every so often, I thank God for never putting me in the position of having to choose. I have been very fortunate, so far.

    Please do not let them make life even more difficult for poor women then it already is. (REPEAL THE HYDE AMMENDMENT, TOO!)"

  5. This. Is. Awesome. Really, just a great response to the newest BS the GOP is serving up this week. I'm sure all in favor of H.R. 3 would do an about face should they or their families be faced with the need to have an abortion.