M.Obama has been busy, of late. After months of quietly getting her children settled into White House life, M.Obama is steppin’ out on the campaign trail. Like I said before, her choices about which causes to champion will speak a lot about the presidency of her husband and the social direction of this administration. This week she got on task. While the rest of the world was busy scoping her garden and checkin’ out her bod’, M.Obama got onto the international stage in her own right by campaigning for the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in her city of Chicago. That is a pretty bold move and a pro-American stepping out. M.Obama also threw her influence into the healthcare debate declaring that it is a “woman’s issue.”
On September 18, in a her own press conference, M.Obama made the following statements, “8 in 10 women determine and oversee all of the healthcare needs for entire families, most do so without access to ‘good insurance’ because the majority of women work in part time and/or small businesses without insurance coverage.” The problems these women face are compounded with “discrimination against women workers who have children; in fact, at 25 years old, a woman is charged 25-48% rate increases on the same insurance coverage that men receive and are also still paid $0.78 to every man’s dollar.” She said that women forgo “preventative care, maternity care because they have to make family-wide choices about insurance payout caps on coverage or fears that they’ll be dropped from insurance coverage when those services are utilized and most needed.” And women are juggling the ever increasing “out of pocket costs are higher” than ever.
While these statements have a decidedly feminist flair, the Obama Administration has taken a decidedly centrist turn. And I hesitate to sugar coat this, I am disappointed. I am not at all shocked – in the middling approach toward controversial politics that the Obama Administration has taken. Obama himself never claimed to be pro-choice and in publicly denying government funds to cover the costs of an abortion – the current debate has taken a negative turn away from the hard gains of many women’s activists who believe in healthcare choices for all. While M.Obama speaks out on healthcare for all being a women’s issue she has been stunningly quiet on the topic of reproductive choices. On the campaign trail M.Obama made a statement at the Women’s Caucus of the Democratic National Convention about her husband’s stance on access to abortion. She said, “He’ll protect a woman’s freedom of choice, because government should have no say in whether or when a woman embraces the sacred responsibility of parenthood.” In healthcare provision for all, the buck stops at a woman’s decision rather than her financial ability to access abortion services.
UPDATE: Despite M.Obama’s best efforts, Chicago has been eliminated to host the 2016 Olympic games in the first round. B.Obama even offered his help in the effort, but no luck. It seems that the public option for healthcare reform (which would truly be a help to women) has also lost in the United States Congress.