November 09, 2009 CNN THE JOY BEHAR SHOW
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Moments like this are why they sent us here. To finally meet the challenges that Washington has put off for decades. To make their lives better and this nation stronger. To move America forward. That`s what the House did last night when it brought us closer than we have ever been to comprehensive health reform in America. Now it calls on the United States Senate to take the baton and bring this effort to the finish line on behalf of the American people. And I`m absolutely confident that they will.
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BEHAR: Well the House bill may be historic but it doesn`t cover abortion for poor women so what good is it anyway? Here to help me make sense of all this, are Nancy Keenan president of NARAL Pro -- Choice America. California Congresswoman Maxine Waters who voted for the House bill. And Julie Menin, host of Give And Take and contributing blogger with the "Huffington Post."
I`m so agitated about this now. Maxine, Congresswoman, how you are you? Thank you for doing this
REP. MAXINE WATERS, (D), CALIFORNIA: I`m fine. Thank you.
BEHAR: OK, now we know that you`re pro-choice and that you`re pro female and you would you do the best for all of us. Why did you vote for a House bill that restricts abortion coverage?
WATERS: Oh Joy; let me tell you, I was absolutely torn. Absolutely undecided. All during this process, as you know, I was the 218th vote. That means I did not vote early. I thought about it. And in the final analysis, I reluctantly voted because it covers 36 million people who have either been refused health insurance or who cannot afford it. And when you look at a district like mine, where you have so many people who cannot afford health care insurance, I have to make a decision of whether or not I was going to literally hold up this bill for the entire nation or whether or not I was going to go with it and reluctantly, I relented. And I supplied the 218th vote.
BEHAR: I mean it is really kind of sad that we cannot get women`s rights in these bills. I mean can`t we -- you now I`m hearing from the A.P. a little while ago, that the public option is going to be dead in the Senate. What are we going to get?
JULIE MENIN, HOST, "GIVE AND TAKE": Well this is really an outrageous issue. I mean basically we have this historic vote in the House on one of the most important entitlement programs ever, and yet, it excludes lower income and middle income women from abortion coverage. And they`re not excluded you now. What is so incredible about this Stupak amendment is it basically, regulates the private insurance market.
BEHAR: It tell people what that is Stupak -- .
NANCY KEENAN, PRESIDENT, NARAL PRO - CHOICE AMERICAN: Let me jump in here. This Stupak amendment is very simple. It means that women cannot access insurance that would cover abortion care, even with their own money. In the new plan. And so it is not just about low income women. It goes far beyond what has historically been known as the Hyde amendment.
BEHAR: So in other words, the average -- a woman who has the money to have an abortion will not be able to get one?
KEENAN: That`s correct. In this you new plan, in this you new plan, she will not be able to buy with her own money, insurance. That would cover abortion care.
MENIN: And let me follow up on what Nancy says because she`s absolutely right. And what is so historic and important about his and why this is really a poison pill. Particularly for women Democrats to have to suffer is that it goes farther than what the Hyde amendment does. And that is what is so despicable about this. And what health care is supposed to be about was irradiating some of these disadvantages that women have. Right now women are paying more in premiums. We`re discriminated if we have a c-section, if we suffer from domestic violence. And now what this amendment does is that it basically excludes abortion coverage. It is really outrageous and people need to know about it.
BEHAR: Maxine? Maxine - go ahead.
WATERS: Yes. Yes. Well let me just say this. What they would have you believe is that women could pay for their abortions through a supplemental plan. But those of us who absolutely are just torn up about this don`t believe that insurance companies are going to offer any supplemental plans by which people can purchase abortion coverage.
MENIN: But they also have the right -- the problem with the writer is who knows if they will get an abortion? It is ludicrous for all of these men in conduct.
MENIN: Like him to say do you know in advance you`re going to have an abortion?
BEHAR: No one plans to have an abortion. That`s ridiculous.
KEENAN: Joy let`s keep in mind here it is unreasonable. Ridiculous. They think women will plan an unplanned pregnancy is ludicrous. But let`s also say that there was a promise here that women in this country that people in this country would not lose ground on this health care reform. And what happened to women in this last action in this Stupak amendment, women in this country lost ground. They presently have coverage, in insurance that covers abortion care. They lost that under the Stupak abortion plan.
BEHAR: OK let`s talk about the White House. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was pressed to weigh in on the amendment that cut abortion rights right out of the House health care bill, let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDE CLIP)
ROBERT GIBBS, PRESS SECRETARY OF WHITE HOUSE: I wish we were having this conversation as the last part of this process. But as your network and others have pointed out they`re miles before to go before we sleep.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BEHAR: Now Obama, President Obama pledged, in the Presidential campaign that he would protect the woman`s right to choose. Why has he woos out on this, Maxine? Would you answer that?
WATERS: Well let me just say what I think about all of this. First of all, the Conservatives, the Blue Dogs have too much power. In the House of Representatives. And the Progressives are losing at every turn because they stick together. They threaten and they`re getting what they want. That`s number one. And we`ve got to understand that and women are going to have to go after some of these people. Because, again, they are leveraging that vote. And that`s what they did.
As for the President, the President wants a bill no matter what. The President says he will sign basically whatever we send him. And that`s that. He believes that having health care reform is crucial to his re - election, and I don`t think you`re going to see him getting involved in any way to fight for any aspect. Don`t forget. On public option, what we have to do was keep pressing, pressing, pressing, and we still didn`t get the kind of robust public option that we really wanted to have.
MENIN: Joy, if there is -- I disagree. I think first of all that Liberals and Progressives really lost out. We tonight have a robust public option. We do not have a woman`s right to choose protected. And these are real issues. And the problem we have now, we`re never going to be able to get to that point. Hopefully health care is passed but we`ll never get the great options that we really needed to have.
KEENAN: Joy, let`s keep in mind though who the real enemy is here. And the real enemy is these anti-choice politicians who wanted to hijack health care reform and keep in mind, that their goal here is twofold. To hijack health care.
BEHAR: What you can you tell American women who are watching my show right you now? What should they do?
MENIN: They should write Bart Stupak. They should write to Stupak, a Democratic - people need to understand these are Democrats who did this. Not Republicans, these Democrats who insisted on this amendment.
WATERS: No - a -
KEENAN: But the fight is not goes to Stupak, the fight goes to the Senate.
WATERS: No, no. No. No you are not going to the Senate, Stupak -- what you need is, you need a commitment from the President and the Speaker and the Women in the House that they will not support a bill that comes out of conference that has this kind of language in it.
KEENAN: True, Maxine.
WATERS: You`re not going to change those anti-choice Democrats.
KEENAN: That`s true. So Maxine, the fight goes to the Senate. For women of America, you need to be calling Senator Harry Reid. You need to be calling every U.S. senator across this country and saying it is unacceptable.
BEHAR: Everybody knows who their Senator is.
KEENAN: That is absolutely right and they don`t them can call us.
BEHAR: It`s not that hard to figure this out.
KEENAN: But that fight has to happen there. That it is unacceptable. Unacceptable.
BEHAR: OK, thank you very much -
KEENAN: That language is included.
BEHAR: Thanks very much, ladies. Maxine, we love you.