(Washington, DC, December 2) Dozens of Unitarian Universalists (UUs), including Rev. Meg Riley, Director of Advocacy and Witness for the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), and Rob Keithan, Director of the UUA’s Washington Office for Advocacy, joined a major mobilization on Capitol Hill to protect women’s reproductive health and freedom in pending health care reform legislation.
The day’s events focused on opposing the Stupak Amendment, which would impose unprecedented restrictions on women's access to abortion. The Stupak Amendment violates President Obama's promise—supported by a broad consensus of health care advocates—that no American would end up with less coverage after the passage of health care reform.
UUs joined with hundreds of people from across the country for a day of rallying and lobby visits. During the lunch hour activists overflowed the Dirksen Senate Office Building's largest auditorium to hear members of Congress and other speakers discuss what is at stake. Rep Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) made it clear: "This [Stupak Amendment] represents the biggest threat to women's reproductive health in more than thirty years. This bill is supposed to be about HEALTH care. Stupak is a huge step backwards." Rep. Donna Edwards, (D-MD), added, “We [members of Congress] need to hear from you that Stupak is completely unacceptable."
Meg Riley said, “The Stupak Amendment would violate the very spirit of health care reform by leaving millions of women worse off than they are today. A government committed to human rights and democracy should not enshrine one religious voice or doctrine by making it the law of the land.
Riley continued, "If you are interested in taking action, know that we need you! Members of Congress need to hear from those who oppose Stupak. Please express your commitment to keeping the hard-fought right to safe, legal, abortion services covered by health insurance—keep the pressure on!"
The day of action was organized and co-sponsored by an impressive coalition of groups, including Planned Parenthood, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and the UUA. In addition to the events in Washington, DC, activists are encouraged to call their members of Congress. Calls made after today are still valuable, Keithan noted, and he urged committed UUs to act in defense of full health care rights for all women.
Call the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Member's office by name. You can find your Member's name and direct contact information online using your zip code. As a suggested message, you might begin by saying, "I'm a person of faith and I support health care reform that protects women's existing access to reproductive health care. I oppose Stupak-like language in the health care bill."