A Letter to my Senator on PA HB818

Dear Senator,

When the Pennsylvania Senate reconvenes, you face an ominous choice. While I had hoped that a new chamber session would bring renewed focus on protecting Pennsylvania’s economic future, I am again disappointed that the focus has not been aimed where it should. Instead of discussing Governor Corbett’s state liquor privatization initiatives, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives chose to debate and pass legislation that would prohibit Pennsylvanian women from purchasing insurance plans that cover a medical procedure that some people have a religious objection to. I am sure you know I am talking about House Bill 818, which would prohibit the sale of insurance plans that cover abortion on the health insurance exchange market in Pennsylvania.
Proponents of HB818 have tried to sell the logic that this bill prevents government funding of abortion. But the crux of this rumination is illogical. Government funding of abortion is already illegal under existing law, which includes the new health care law. Proponents also say that, “since Pennsylvania would pay for the health insurance exchange, the state would be paying for abortions” by association. However, by this logic, since all Pennsylvanians fund public education and one of three Pennsylvania women will have an abortion for various reasons during her life, all Pennsylvanians are funding abortion with our education dollars. It is a transparent non-truth.
The health insurance exchange is simply a market stand for insurers to sell insurance plans. Whether an insurance plan covers abortion is not germane to the cost of administering the insurance market. When a person purchases private insurance, in no way does the state of Pennsylvania foot any part of the bill. If an abortion is performed and covered by an insurance provider as part of a private insurance plan, the cost of that abortion is paid directly by the insured and the insured’s employer if the employer shares costs.
Some try to tell a story of lost state revenue from the pretax nature of health care premiums. But this is a smoke and mirror tale as well.
I therefore reject the premise posited by proponents of HB818. I find the only logical objection to the sale of comprehensive insurance plans on the insurance exchange to be a religiously motivated logic set. And I therefore cannot support legislation in favor of this religious establishment.
As your constituent, I expect that you will consider my position carefully when you cast your vote on HB818 if it should come to the floor.

Sincerely yours,

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PA House Bill 2405 Empowers Poverty

Having the ability to prevent additional pregnancies gives women better opportunity to work themselves and their families out of the hole of poverty.

Poverty begets poverty. Poverty is one of the hardest economic situations to escape from in the United States. As the income gap widens and Americans become poorer and weaker, poverty, for some, becomes an cyclic chasm from which escape can seem impossible.

Enter Title X.

One of the benefits of the Title X program is that it gives women and men an opportunity to halt the cycle of poverty. As a demographic, being a single woman with children puts one into one of the largest and poorest faring economic subgroups in the nation. Having the ability to prevent additional pregnancies gives women better opportunity to work themselves and their families out of the hole of poverty.

Birth control access can have a profound effect on the welfare of a family. When a woman is not perpetually pregnant, she has better opportunity to hold down a steady job (or even two or three) and even go to school. With less mouths to feed, more of the family income can be used toward purchasing fuel, clothes and medical care for children. Especially for single mothers, birth control access can mean the difference between a lifetime on welfare and earning a living wage for ones family.

Politicians and pundits like to play the “birth control is a license to have sex” card. To them I say, what about to the women who don’t have a real choice not to have sex? I have listened to stories from women living with abuse who really didn’t have a choice – it was submit or get beat up. How is a woman in that situation supposed to claw herself out of a life of poverty and abuse if she is always pregnant and, thus, has no job and no money? For a woman in that situation, control over her own body means safety and freedom.

Politicians in Pennsylvania know that Title X funds cannot be used for abortion care. They also know that the restrictions on Title X funding bar the state from discriminating against qualified health care providers – meaning Pennsylvania would lose all of the Title X funding if House Bill 2405 were enforced.

A vote for HB 2405 is a vote against every woman struggling to pick herself up out of poverty. A vote for HB 2405 is a vote to empower poverty. What will these politicians choose for Pennsylvania women? Poverty or Opportunity?


*Edited to clarify restrictions on Title X funds.

Purple Haze: Black and Brainwashed

I am NOT brainwashed. I just don’t agree with you, Herman Cain!!!

So, Herman Cain thinks I’m brainwashed. As you would expect from a brainwashed black zombie voter, hearing this peculiar news was news to me. Cain says I’m brainwashed because I’m not open minded, and because I “won’t even consider a conservative point of view.” Wow, Herman! Thank you for opening my eyes!!! I am SO closed-minded. And I NEVER listen or even consider what conservatives think. So let me take this opportunity to turn my life around, and really consider exactly what conservativism is all about. So I visited Herman Cain’s website. He has a page where he publicizes his position on “The Issues”, so I’ll start with that.

On National Security, Herman Cain says:

While diplomacy is a critical tool in solving the complex security issues we face, it must never compromise military might.

The rest of his statements on national security are, though not automatically appealing to me, mainstream enough. From this statement, I gather that, as President of the Unites States of America, Herman Cain would not hesitate to march America to war when diplomacy, in his opinion, became futile. Or maybe I am to gather that president Cain would strike first, and negotiate later. Would a president Cain hesitate to send more and more of my brothers and sisters to sacrifice their lives, even if the American people didn’t want it, even if the diplomatic world clamored against it, even if it continued to bankrupt our country and spoil future security for our children?

On Spending, Herman Cain says:

It is no secret that federal government spending is out of control. They view the American taxpayers as a bottomless piggybank for their wasteful programs and expansion of power.

I wonder, who is “they”? And to what wasteful programs is he referring? Is Title X a wasteful program? In other words, is preventing premature births, birth defects, and cancer a waste of taxpayer money? There are some programs that can be considered wasteful, Cain should be more specific. Cain also thinks we should eliminate some of our entitlement programs “with a keen eye and a red pen”. I take that to mean Herman Cain would see the end of Social Security. Many of our senior citizens already live on tight, fixed budgets; and depend on social security (which they paid for) to keep them healthy. I don’t want to see our elder generation impoverished!

On to Immigration! Herman Cain says:

Americans have embraced their role as the world’s premier “melting pot,” welcoming immigrants from every corner of the planet. We readily learn about other cultures, customs and beliefs. We appreciate those who are willing to come to this country and make America a more vibrant and enriched place.

Conservatives readily learn from other cultures? What about conservative Michele Bachmann’s opinion that, “not all cultures are equal, not all values are equal,” implying that immigrants should assimilate to her culture. That doesn’t seem very welcoming to me. Herman Cain himself said he would not hire a Muslim to his cabinet, and that towns should be able to ban mosques from being built within their borders. He also thinks we should “promote the existing path to citizenship”. Well I argue that the existing path to citizenship is broken. It is filled with bureaucratic red tape and financial barriers that ensure that only very rich, patient, educated foreigners are allowed in.

For Herman Cains stance on energy policy, all I can say is, “WOW!” He mentions that corn-based ethanol producers are subsidized; but fails to mention that so too are oil producers, nuclear operators, and renewable energy producers. In fact, there is no sector of energy in the United States that is NOT subsidized in some way by federal funds. Now I mistrust Cain. His attempt to spin the energy story to promote his campaign has just turned me off. He also says, “liberals have forced excessive environmental regulations that have stifled our domestic energy production.” Cain thinks that the regulation of energy producers to protect the public from unmitigated pollution of our skies, rivers and ground water puts undue burden on energy producers who, might I add, are in no way struggling to turn profits. I think some oversight of energy producers is warranted.

Then I get to Herman Cain’s Health Care page. I cannot continue. This is some of the language I read here:

  • liberals in Congress have dismantled the free market health care system
  • compromise the sacred patient-doctor relationship
  • eliminate patient choice
  • stick a bureaucrat in the examining room
  • ration care

Time after time, this same inflammatory language Cain insists on using to describe the PPACA has been proven misleading, lying at best. It’s not a government takeover. It’s not interfering with patient-doctor relationships (although, with the latest attempts by Congress and the states to eliminate insurance coverage for abortion from the health care system, that is debatable). The PPACA increases patient choice. Patients will now be able to choose from a wider selection of insurance providers than they had before. And health care is already rationed by health care providers and insurance companies. For instance, hospitals will not put someone on the list for a lung transplant if the person is a smoker. And with Herman Cain’s views on abortion rights, I am sure that, under a Cain presidency, my rights to make medical choices without the interference of government would only suffer more.

And Cain promotes “tort reform” as the solution to lowering health care costs and increasing patient choice. Tort reform is code word for eliminating a patients ability to seek damages from a doctor when he or she is harmed. Tort reform is not the answer. Increasing the availability and affordability of primary care in order to reduce the number of patients seeking such care in hospitals, thus decreasing the work load of doctors and nurses such that they can better focus on their patients is the solution to medical malpractice suits. Scaring the ‘have-nots’ from taking the ‘haves’ to court in order to reduce the number of malpractice suits serves only to deter an individual from seeking reparation when he or she has actually been wronged. And believe me, it’s an individual against a huge insurance company, not patient versus doctor.

Let me end this useless attempt to consider Cain’s conservative ideas on their merit. In almost every instance, Cain provides a half story in an attempt to brainwash his own readers! And on his “Faith & Family” page, he basically makes his point that the U.S. is a Christian nation (especially noting the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance), and should remain that way. I argue that the U.S. Republic is seated by a secular government whose job is to administer a country in which Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Witches, Pagans, Hari Krishnas and Atheists alike can live their lives in the way they see fit. The words “under god” are an addition made in fear; and don’t belong in the Pledge of Allegiance. And I decry any attempt to force me or my future children to say such words. That is the opposite of freedom of religion.

It’s possible that Herman Cain seriously believes that African American voters are living in a purple haze that makes liberalism show up in rosy hues. But, I don’t think so. I think he is just desperate. I am a highly educated, worldly, open-minded, faceted and (and if I can say so myself) fascinating individual. And I am NOT brainwashed. I just don’t agree with you, Herman Cain!!!