In brief: the US House of Representatives passed the health care reform bill. It is called the Affordable Health Care For America Act and expands federal healthcare provision enormously – 36 million more people will be eligible for Medicaid, most employers will be required to provide healthcare coverage for their workers, and there will be a government-funded “public option”. Also notably, health insurers will be prevented from refusing coverage based on medical history (no more gender-based “pre-existing conditions” such as pregnancy, rape and domestic violence) and the exemption for insurance companies from antitrust legislation will be repealed.
So far, so hoopy. The Stupak Amendment, with which this Act has been passsed, is as follows:
“No funds authorised or appropriated by this Act… may be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion, except in the case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury or physical injury which would… place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed… or unless the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.”
In other words, to get this Act passed, someone had to be the sacrificial lamb and 150 million American women were it. (Also, something else I have just spotted – the obvious women are excluded, women who want abortions for what are nauseatingly called “social” reasons, because pregnancy is not the right thing for them, but also, women who have mental illnesses which pregnancy would exacerbate are excluded, too.)
I actually have no further commentary to make on the issue, and I wondered if that were just me, but actually, I think there is nothing very profound to say about it. Institutional politics, particularly in the United States, is boring and it doesn’t yield to analysis. Feminist analysis of the narratives of privilege and oppression, that is interesting; so is sociological thinking about why people think the way they do such that amendments like this are seen as a good idea, but on the institutional level of why, in the specific instance, the House of Representatives has voted like this, I’m coming up with nothing. They voted like this because they’re misogynists, fundamentalists, or spineless; you can lobby them, but to be effective, you either run for the House of Representatives or wait for the current incumbents to die, or both. You can’t argue, you can’t write about women’s rights to their own bodies, you can’t talk about restriction of reproductive options as a form of control of women. Well, you can, but it’s a category error to think you can convince an edifice of misogyny to change their minds because that, I think, fundamentally misunderstands why they hold the opinions they do – it’s not because they arrived at them through logical argument.
(Evidence in point: thirty-nine Democrats voted against the reform bill. Twenty-one of them, besides Stupak, voted for the amendment. Institutional politics defies logical analysis.)
It will go to the Senate, but I’m not optimistic.
 Yes, yes, this is not proper legal citation.
 From here. And yes, lawyers are allowed to run a defence in the alternative, but I suspect it’s not the same thing.