The AHCA Would Hurt Conservative Women, Too
At this point, it's almost unfathomable that any woman in the United States of America would support the American Health Care Act (AHCA). But a Quinnipiac University poll from March showed otherwise. 13 percent of women surveyed supported the notorious bill, which has been and continues to be reprimanded for a myriad of reasons. Now that the latest version of the bill has passed the House, perhaps that 13 percent of women have reconsidered their approval. But in case they haven't, this is a reminder to conservative women: the AHCA won't spare them.
For starters, the AHCA, or Trumpcare, as it's also known, will result in the loss of health care coverage for some 24 million Americans by 2026. This isn't a random number pulled out of thin air, but a sobering estimate from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Not only will millions end up without health insurance — a health care casualty which will encompass men and women without consideration for their political leanings — the CBO estimation also predicted thousands of unplanned births due to the defunding of Planned Parenthood. With no viable means to access birth control, women across the board will suffer — especially lower-income women.
If the aforementioned isn't convincing enough, conservative women who back Trumpcare may want to reconsider their support after learning that the AHCA's plan to slash Medicaid funding will disproportionately affect new mothers.
By cutting Medicaid funding, coverage for new mothers and children could get brutally sliced in the process — including postpartum depression screenings to help new mothers grapple with the new challenges of motherhood, home visiting programs, and counseling services. Above all, the AHCA may not even cover pregnancy since it could be listed as a "pre-existing condition." It becomes clear that the GOP's move to repeal Obamacare is pro-life only insofar as the fetus is kept alive; support for the mother is less of a concern.
One would assume that those invested in the strong adherence to traditional values (family, parenthood, that sort of thing) would be the first to point out the danger the bill poses to families, especially mothers. But the 13 percent of women surveyed who support this bill are either blissfully unaware of it, or perhaps entirely opposed to family values.
The power of ideology is often in rooted in the comfort it provides its followers. People frequently assume that their loyalty to a thought system will grant them exempt from the repercussions of that very set of ideas. One way to understand this is by recalling how Donald Trump's followers assumed that his deportation plans would never affect Trump loyalists and their families.
Yet we saw Trump voters witness their loved ones get deported from the country. Soon after Trump's inauguration, regret seemed to be a running theme among conservatives who aligned with Trump so much so that HuffPost actually interviewed six Trump fans who were remarkably unhappy with the political decisions they made.
If the grave estimations and rising concerns about the bill's impact on women fail to move conservative women supporting the AHCA, perhaps a final reminder on patriarchal apathy might do. These are legislative moves conceptualized and sanctioned by powerful men. It does not matter whether one voted for Democrats or declared allegiance to the Republican party, because an incursion into one woman's bodily autonomy affects all women, no matter their political views. In other words, ideological purity may not guarantee protection.
Regardless of one's economic power, racial background, religious beliefs, and social marking, male dominance, which seems to be scripted into the very backbone of the AHCA, affects every woman — even those who choose not to criticize it. That's where the bad news is for the women who support the AHCA: patriarchy, ultimately, makes no exceptions. Not even for its female gatekeepers.