While Obama Gives Lip-Service To Our Reproductive Rights We Must Communicate More Effectively With Our Elected Officials

The following note I’m enclosing at the bottom of this post was a response to the Feminist Advisory Board for Obama regarding a letter that was sent to the President asking for a public statement denouncing the murder of Dr. Tiller. A form letter response was sent with a generic “thank you” but it was non-committal. Like race relations (the denial of racism, anger over accountability) control over a woman’s reproductive rights is constantly being challenged. Usually it’s by the same people – except for some fools who work against their own interests. This is part of a larger movement from those armed and racist who want to want to see women chained to the house and blacks sent back to Africa. After his huge mistake defending black woman betrayer/hater Skippy Gates don’t expect President Obama to say anything that will further incite the angry white men with guns. In fact he has flipped from his earlier decision to lift the ban on abortion funding by letting the fundamentalists (which includes Democrats) dictate the terms of our healthcare coverage.
From CBS News – – President Obama on Tuesday said he would “rather not wade into” the issue of whether or not health care reform should include federal funding for abortions. 

The president told CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric that he is “not trying to micro-manage what benefits are covered.” 
My reply – If you’re in charge you tell your subordinates what is on – and off the table for negotiation. You don’t leave it up to the whims of others.

“I’m pro-choice, but I think we also have the tradition in this town, historically, of not financing abortions as part of government-funded health care,” he said, adding: “My main focus is making sure that people have options of high quality care at the lowest possible price.”  
If you are in support of something you should be all-in. There are no ifs, ands or buts. In trying to get this health care plan -which is now being called a health insurance plan passed, if it’s nearly gutted and ineffective it’s DOA for all of us non-politicians who don’t have their plan. Or their cheap rates.
Coming on the heels of the most recent vote by the House Energy and Commerce Committee to pass an amendment excluding abortion services from the “essential” health benefits package as defined by the government it would seem Obama is NOT IN SUPPORT OF ABORTIONS for any woman who can’t pay for one. So low-income workers, immigrants, youth and the usual marginalized population are going to be (*&$ out of luck unless some private funding will cover these costs. What’s next on the chopping block….birth control pills?  

We have so many forces in opposition to any progress we must strategize how we approach tackling them. Our goals must be firm. We’re going to have to FIGHT people because they are not giving an inch. Obama doesn’t have our backs any more than his backside is being covered. He will cave unless we make it a disadvantage for him to do so. Here is one suggestion on how to approach politicians that I think may prove useful:

“Don’t read too much into the response you got to your letter. Most congressional offices have standard replies as well. The best way to get a more personal response is to put more than one issue into a letter that you write. Still, more than likely some staff member is writing that letter due to the number of letters members of congress get and I assume that the Presidency is the same way.

I have to say having interned in a congressional and a senate office has deterred me from writing letters and even signing many petitions non-anonymously to it because I know how these offices process the information and I ALMOST completely agree with their methods – they get so much mail and petitions that its hard to deal more personally with what they receive. But, I do wish that more members would read at least some constituent letters and maybe even choose to respond to a few – from my knowledge I know of some members who respond to Tweets and FaceBook messages but unsure about older forms of communication. I have heard that the President does read like 3 letters a day to keep himself grounded (his words). So I don’t know if we should give up on letters completely.

Honestly, I have not found an effective method of reaching out to my representatives. The best I have observed is trying to get a meeting with that member or a staff person and doing so constantly. This is hard though because if you get on their “bad side” they do not take your issues seriously. So I’m still trying to figure this out myself. Also with the President its not like you can get a meeting with the POTUS with out donating money to his party and winning that random drawing to have “Lunch with Obama.”

To close, didn’t expect to say all this, maybe we as a group can organize to meet with our representatives in person during recess sessions – especially summer recess – in the future over an issue. Also, many members participate in local events at this time and it is the best way to try to connect with them (but I am also from a small state that if you are somewhat involved in any industry the member covers you have met and interacted with them. So they are generally more responsive). Anyway, I do think that especially in the age with all of this technology, that nothing beats face to face.

P.S. So of course now I remember a way that may be more effective – Doing a policy memo as to why a member or in this case, the President, should support an issue. In the case of congress, their staffers need to do this to their member to co-sponsor a piece of legislation. The letter is short and basically builds a case as to why they should support a bill based on both the merits of the bill and how the bill will benefit/affect the people in their state. I would try this angle – you still may get a form letter back but you may get a staffer that may care enough to either forward this on to the member or tweek it a bit and try to convince their member to co-sponsor that piece of legislation – especially since a lot of the leg work is done for them. Final statement I promise – getting to know staff members in key offices is help ful and probably the best method – it works for the lobbyists.” — from DNMP Politico

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13 comments to While Obama Gives Lip-Service To Our Reproductive Rights We Must Communicate More Effectively With Our Elected Officials

  • donna darko

    Octogalore's discovered you too, YAY!Thank you for your blog and associated blogs. I took the red pill and got out of the Matrix at seventeen. Everyone in "the community" tells you to do otherwise. I know how hard it is and hope you all never stop.

  • Octogalore

    Yes — "above my pay grade" didn't work when it was first used, and it doesn't work now. I'll be curious to see about contraception funding and how that will work. If there's no contraception nor abortion funding, then the claimed support for poor women is pure verbiage.Re taxes, I'll place a bet. Middle class taxes will go up — it's almost a mathematical certainty — and Geithner & Summers are being set up to take the fall. Gibbs will say that Obama did his level best to insist on keeping his promise, but his advisors told him it was a necessary step. He really didn't want to break his promise.

  • ActsofFaithBlog

    Octogalore: Yes I am noting how the change Obama promised to get elected is slowly being reneged on issue by issue. No repeal of DOMA or ENDA, no abortion funding, no CHANGE. Now of course they're trotting out the idea that taxes will be raised after he said he wouldn't do it for those making less than $250K. If Hillary decides to run in 2012 he's in trouble.

  • Octogalore

    Faith, great post. You gave me some inspiration today. Absolutely agree with "This is part of a larger movement from those armed and racist who want to want to see women chained to the house and blacks sent back to Africa."I think the language in the CBS article you link is interesting. Obama says that it's "tradition" not to federally fund abortion. And yet, on a platform of change, why does tradition matter?One would hope, if there was going to be a "tradition" exception from the Change platform, it wouldn't be the needs of poor women.

  • ActsofFaithBlog

    Khadija: It's actually the same person but they had posted the same comment under 2 profiles originally and asked that I delete one. I felt this was too important to let go because my first urge was to delete everything and not get into this, but I am tired of the anti-choice, anti-homosexual stance of the "religious" black women who come to these forums to pay lip service to empowering other black women. I also don't know anyone who WANTS an abortion. There are ramifications to that decision that are not pleasant. Yet the 80% OOW birth rate and state of chaos and danger for so many children is supposed to be the better option? The millions of black children left in foster care or orphanages? The emotionally destroyed population of the abandoned and unwanted set loose on society is the alternative? Even the focus of this entire exchange still focuses on the women -- and NOT the men involved. It takes TWO to get pregnant. If the MEN would step up and take responsibility this situation wouldn't have deteriorated to this level of depravity.

  • Khadija

    Faith,It's been interesting reading this exchange. It shows that Blacks with anti-choice/forced childbirth views are generally not used to receiving firm, unapologetic, opposing feedback to their views. They're not used to getting push-back from other Black folks about this. Much of it has to do with our AA culture of mass, dysfunctional versions of religiosity.I have no idea what's motivating the previous commenters, but I will say this: I reject and resist anything that leads down the road to Talibanization. And the defining feature of Talibanization is that the various types of "Taliban" are NEVER content to leave…other…people…alone. They are never content to allow other people to make their own choices. They ALWAYS want to impose their personal choices, and value systems on everybody else around them. They ALWAYS want to create laws to force other people to conform to their choices and values. To this end, aspiring "Taliban" usually have a laundry list of other people's choices that they want to make illegal.To me, it's very simple. In terms of abortion: Anybody who is opposed to abortion should not have one.In terms of gay marriage: Anybody who is opposed to this should not get involved in a gay marriage. [I personally believe that, for the sake of non-discrimination, perhaps the government needs to get out of the "marriage" business altogether. And offer all couples civil registrations, period.]But folks are not content with that—they're not content with refraining from these activities for themselves. They want to stop other people from being able to have these things. The Prophet Muhammad said that "the perfection of a Muslim's state of Islam (submission to God) is in leaving alone things that don't concern him."I'm not in (and I DON'T want to be in) other people's bedrooms, or uteruses, or lives to assess what they should and should not be able to have for themselves in those realms. That's none of my business.I have NEVER met anybody that's pro-choice who actually likes abortion. Nobody that I've ever met favors abortion as "Plan A." People support the legal availability of abortion services because the alternatives involved with FORCED-CHILDBIRTH are worse.And really, FORCED CHILDBIRTH is what anti-choice supporters want for everybody else. I think it might be helpful for forced-childbirth supporters to study the misery that forced childbirth laws caused in this country during previous eras. And the misery forced childbirth laws are causing right now in societies that ban abortion services.A good place to begin is to study the examples of Nicaragua and El Salvador, where abortion is illegal. There’s a Human Rights Watch report about the situation in Nicaragua. <a href="http://hrw.org/reports/2007/nicaragua1007http://hrw.org/reports/2007/nicaragua1007<br />/nicaragua1007web.pdfPeace, blessings and solidarity.

  • ActsofFaithBlog

    One more point: It is the LAW that allows for abortions. So by your opposition you are in fact proposing a change in legal status of a medical procedure. You and Sarah Palin have much in common apparently.

  • ActsofFaithBlog

    And to reply to your accusation that I was personally attacking you, I was very clear in prefacing you as someone lacking compassion for others. It is an unfortunate individual who refuses to have sympathy for the suffering of other people when it goes against their own views. I stand by that as an accurate observation not an attack. It is a oft used ploy to redirect conversation by accusing someone of not letting them have their say so that person can continue their opposition and disruption. That will NOT be happening here.

  • ActsofFaithBlog

    This is the last conversation we will have on this. You hijacked this thread to continue to express YOUR personal opinion on abortion. That was NOT the purpose of this post. You have the right to your opinion but you do not have to right to dictate to ANY OTHER WOMAN what her choices should be.The minute you try to restrict options you are not being an ally of women. Perhaps you wish to ignore what happened with Banita Jacks or countless other women. I do not. It's all about choices not about telling other women what to do with their bodies. When you and others like you TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALL THE UNWANTED CHILDREN IN THIS COUNTRY then you can talk. Until then you are no different from white supremacists and other hateful people who wish to deny ALL WOMEN free sovereignty over their bodies. 1. Empowering women means giving them vital life-saving information, deploying common sense and making ALL OPTIONS available to them. 2. My blog is a forum and meant to be haven. Harsh choices have to be made in having the highest quality life but it involves CHOICES.3. It is the epitome of HATE to dictate by force and restrict choices of others who make individual choices that we may not agree with. As a citizen of this country we have to pay taxes for many things. If you don't want to pay for certain things that's for you to change the tax codes. But I can guarantee somebody else won't want to pay for something YOU think is important. At no point in time does all of this help you propose allow for women to make autonomous decisions. So by that very definition you are an enemy of women as far as I'm concerned. You also completely ignored the fact a medical professional was executed in church by someone like you claiming that "killing babies" is wrong. That didn't stop him from seeking revenge, being hate-filled and committing a crime.

  • Muse

    Faith Said: You propose a utopia scenario where only one set of circumstances apply. Many young women are not taught to value themselves or are also taken advantage of by older men who are in fact committing statutory rape. You also eliminate the dynamic of all the fatherless children who've not had any guidance or protection as well as some kids who are just acting at times. We all make mistakes. No one has ever advocated abortion as a desired situation but it is absolutely part of reproductive rights.Isn’t that the purpose of your blog and other black female empowerment workers? Aren’t we supposed to have the information to make informed decisions about our lives and that of our children or future children? We we are discussing abortion, then perhaps the pros and cons should be fairly evaluated. Bottom line is that parents are responsible for making sure their children are equipped with the knowledge and resources to grow up into well rounded adults. If someone has an underclass mentality and/or stuck in toxic environments no amount of abortions are going to resolve the other issues they are dealing with. I recognize that not everyone has the type of upbringing where there is love, support, and protection. As a society we need to do a better job protecting our girls and that starts at home and within communities. WE need to have laws and action plans in place where predators are punished harshly for their crimes. We also need better mental healthcare services available for victims and criminals alike. Maybe my ideas are utopian but doable. Faith: How many of these Republican "family values" politicians are later busted for homosexual relationships and extra-marital activities? The point is you can stand in judgment with a do and don't list or you can have compassion for the suffering of others and the hard choices we may have to make in life. Abortion services are physical and mental health issues. Are you proposing some people get to pick and choose what are vital services? Should the elderly be cut off because they're going to die? Should only white children get coverage? You're going down a slippery slope. Now I published this comment but I am NOT going to further engage you on this while you justify yourself.Faith I agree with you on that point. I’m not here promoting “family values” or whatever the heck that is supposed to mean. We all have different standards for our lives. I recognize that the abortion issue can be emotional but as someone who publically blogged about this issue should expect that some people will disagree with you, even your loyal readers. It doesn’t make them woman haters, lack compassion, or evil.

  • Muse

    Faith said:I published this comment but I do not agree with much of what you propose. You are truly an unfortunate individual. You wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of your complete lack of compassion in a time of need.I’m sorry that you consider me an unfortunate individual who lacks compassion because I disagree with you regarding abortion. We can disagree on certain issues without resorting to personal attacks. I recognize that this is your blog and you have authority to do what you want but please give me the respect that I have shown you in this post as well as others. Isn’t this a forum for Black women to come together and share on our experiences and opinions in a respectful manner? If someone chooses to get an abortion I’m not going to damn them to hell. They are still people. I feel for anyone who has to make that choice. However it is still a choice that I don’t agree with but it doesn’t mean I hate that person or lack compassion for them. Faith said: First of all you ignore all the responsibility lies with the female. Now if the males involved in these conceptions would step up to the plate and care and provide many of these problems wouldn't exist. I never said only racist white males were opposed to abortion. I also said foolish people who work against their interests also follow suit.Faith I acknowledge that women carry the burden of child care in most societies. With that being said this should open the eyes to women everywhere when it comes to their who they select as sexual partners and the role men play in whether or not a woman decides to terminate a pregnancy. This should also open the eyes to parents and teachers. Why are kids having sex? Why are young women being preyed on in the first place? I believe that there should be more support and services available for mothers and children. I’m not one of these individuals who are pro-life but don’t want to explore how as a society we can work towards helping the child of an unwanted pregnancy and what support we can provide if the mother does decide to keep the child. I honestly believe that there are woman who would not get an abortion if there was support available to her. If anything I would love for my tax dollars to go to services that help people with young children. Screw Iraq, Iran, banks, and everything else we are wasting money on.

  • ActsofFaithBlog

    I published this comment but I do not agree with much of what you propose. You are truly an unfortunate individual. You wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of your complete lack of compassion in a time of need. First of all you ignore all the responsibility lies with the female. Now if the males involved in these conceptions would step up to the plate and care and provide many of these problems wouldn't exist. I never said only racist white males were opposed to abortion. I also said foolish people who work against their interests also follow suit. You propose a utopia scenario where only one set of circumstances apply. Many young women are not taught to value themselves or are also taken advantage of by older men who are in fact committing statutory rape. You also eliminate the dynamic of all the fatherless children who've not had any guidance or protection as well as some kids who are just acting at times. We all make mistakes. No one has ever advocated abortion as a desired situation but it is absolutely part of reproductive rights. And it should all be under the control of women. For everyone who wants to pontificate they are usually the first to cave when the circumstances don't bend in their favor. How many of these Republican "family values" politicians are later busted for homosexual relationships and extra-marital activities? The point is you can stand in judgement with a do and don't list or you can have compassion for the suffering of others and the hard choices we may have to make in life. Abortion services are physical and mental health issues. Are you proposing some people get to pick and choose what are vital services? Should the elderly be cut off because they're going to die? Should only white children get coverage? You're going down a slippery slope. Now I published this comment but I am NOT going to further engage you on this while you justify yourself. It is pure hatred for women. All of you people who espouse their pro-life hooha NEVER do anything about ensuring adequate health care or help women AFTER the child has been born. Where is the free day care, the free doula services, hospices and numerous programs that help abused women, girls who've been brought here illegally to do sex work and many other ills that are allowed to go on unchecked? After you take care of all the UNWANTED children left to fend for themselves then you talk about forcing women to carry a fetus to term.

  • Kia

    Since President Obama has taken office, there are several critical mistakes made on his part that will eventually tarnish his legacy. He’s so concerned about appeasing certain political groups that it’s making his job of getting anything done quite difficult. However on this issue I agree with him. It’s not only racist White males who are anti-abortion. The abortion debate is a highly volatile subject that ties in other social issues that need to be addressed. Not everyone who is pro-life has the motive to oppress women. In fact there are people like myself who are genuinely concerned about the message abortion sends and how it impacts the mental health of the woman. Regardless of what an individual’s belief system is, we are talking about a human life here. There is more to the abortion issue than a woman’s right to choose. The right to have an abortion is not a fundamental healthcare concern; it’s a choice therefore it should come out of the pocket of the individuals who want to terminate their pregnancy. The frustrating aspect about being a tax payer is that we can’t control which programs our money goes to. But if I have a say I would choose not to have my tax dollars fund the murder to unborn children. The only situation where I believe an abortion is necessary is if the life of the mother is at risk. But is that really considered an abortion since the unborn baby can’t live without the mother?Granted I understand that several women will completely disagree with my views on abortion and that’s okay. Although I’ve never been pregnant nor had an abortion myself I’ve had plenty of friends who have and honestly they were left with wounds and emotional guilt. As women, we do have options other than abortion like educating ourselves and learning about her bodies. That’s reproductive empowerment, not sucking a fetus out of a vacuum because you “messed up.” Adults have a responsibility to learn about their reproductive cycle and not participate in risky sexual behavior. There are so many forms of birth control methods that are widely available. How does someone accidently get pregnant these days? We aren’t cave men and don’t live the middle ages anymore.What’s disturbing is that organizations like Planned Parenthood is that they are mostly in located in inner city/ low income areas which are usually populated by immigrants, Blacks, and Latinos. There are also police investigations going on in various states where employees of Planned Parenthood are assisting in abortions in cases of incest and rape involving under aged girls. Yet this information is not reported to the police. How is this empowering again? How does the secrecy involving some abortion help women again? How is abortion going to resolve the problems a young woman who is being raped by her father or relative? If anything it serves to create deeper wounds and damage to that young woman. There is no accountability nor are the perpetrators ever punished. In fact abortion hides what they have done. For the other women who aren’t victims of rape or incest, bottom line if you don’t want a baby then perhaps you shouldn’t have sex. I say this knowing that most people don’t carry my views. I’m not a religious fanatic; I’m just someone who uses common sense. If you have adult “urges” then get on a birth control plan and use condoms. Since abortion supporters and feminists like to state that abortion is a woman’s choice and they don’t’ want the government dictating what they do with their reproductive rights, then they shouldn’t expect the government to fund it either.