Anyone who’s read my blog before knows I’m not a fan of party politics. I’ve been particularly hard on Republicans because they’re the ones who claim to be the champions of Christianity while persecuting the poor and the migrant. I refer to 45 as the Tangerine Menace or Manitos Cheetos. I trust that I’ve earned enough street cred that I’m not going to be accused of being a Republican shill.
Now, that said, I need to say something about Democrats.
My friend J lives in Massachusetts. She is, like me, Catholic, a mom and opposed to abortion. She lost twin sons to a tragic stillbirth; she has one adopted daughter and two biological daughters, one of whom is disabled. Recently, she wrote to her representative in congress. She asked him what he was doing about affordable child care and paid family leave, because she didn’t think it was appropriate for her to have to get an abortion in order to have a place in society. And this is the form letter the good representative wrote back:
Dear Mrs. J,
Thank you for contacting me about reproductive rights and women’s health. I appreciate hearing from you on these important issues and am glad to have the opportunity to respond.
The Supreme Court placed a woman’s right to decide whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term alongside other constitutionally protected rights deemed “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.” As former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor noted, “the ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.”
Despite that constitutional protection, Republicans have consistently attempted to undermine a woman’s ability to make her own health care choices. H. R. 7 is the latest example. The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act was filed by Representative Christopher Smith of New Jersey on January 13, 2017. Among other things, this bill would prohibit men and women, as well as small businesses, from receiving Affordable Care Act tax credits simply because they purchased insurance plans that happen to include abortion coverage. Additionally, it would prohibit the City of Washington, D.C. from using its own local, non-federal funding for certain health care services. The broad prohibitions included in this bill effectively would forbid American families from spending their own money on the health insurance they determine is most appropriate for their lives and families. This legislation passed the House by a vote of 238 to 183 on January 24, 2017, and I forcefully voted against it.Moving forward, I will continue to oppose efforts to erode a woman’s constitutionally protected right to make personal decisions about her health. , I am a proud cosponsor of the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Woman Act, which would ensure health coverage for abortion for every woman. It would also prohibit federal, state, and local government from restricting insurance coverage of abortion care through both public and private health plans. I believe that high-quality health care should be a right of every woman, regardless of her geographic location, income, or circumstance. Women’s health care is not a political bargaining chip; it is a national priority. I will certainly keep your views in mind should any legislation regarding this issue come before me in the U.S. House of Representatives for a vote.
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me; I am honored to represent the constituents of the Fourth District of Massachusetts. Please feel free to call or write my office with future questions or concerns. Additionally, I invite you to visit my website at www.kennedy.house.gov or follow me on Facebook to learn more about my work at home and in Washington.
All my best,
Joseph P. Kennedy
Member of Congress
Now, did anyone hear anything about maternity leave or affordable daycare in response to that question about maternity leave and affordable daycare?