That is me, and my three-year-old Ben. When I was in my third trimester with him, my husband lost his health insurance which covered our entire family — my pregnant self, our oldest son who was a young toddler, and of course himself. When the economy tanked in 2008, before the presidential election, he was laid off. While sitting on the “union bench” we lost our benefits because he didn’t put in enough union hours. Makes a lot of sense right?
So there I was, ready to give birth… no health insurance, and in a panic.
What did I pull together and do? Like most people hit by the economy, I went to the local department of health and that day they had me registered for Medicaid, or Husky as we call it in Connecticut.
Over the next calendar year we experienced several hardships including my husband being turned away by a number of companies because he was “over-qualified” for the positions he applied for. A veteran, looking to support his family being turned away, repeatedly. But this was the state the entire country was in!
We got lucky a year later when my husband got hired by a company 45 minutes away from our home. While it was trying and expensive as the gas prices continued to rise, we were spoiled rotten by the extra $90 more than he received on unemployment we got a pay period. Real Rockefeller’s right?
Just when we started to make ends meet, a mixture of antibiotics and failed birth control landed us our daughter. Which in turn landed me a full-time job from home writing about my pregnancy. We got lucky. Very lucky. And from that moment on it seemed like our luck turned around. Not because we are entitled, or because we have a trust fund. Because we worked hard and never stopped trying to better ourselves and our family. When a door would close, we would knock on fifteen more, until one opened. We didn’t sit around and sulk in our misfortune. We worked for what we had, just like most American’s do.
When this election season rolled around, I found a lot of issues important to me as a woman. In the past four years, we have seen so many religious based, anti-choice laws and propositions brought into our government. We have seen attacks on Planned Parenthood funding, and bickering over the future of Roe v. Wade. Issues that should not be issues in the year 2012. Roe has been in place since 1973, can we just leave it the hell alone already?
Of course the debt, the economy, jobs, health care and foreign policy were important to me. Everything about America and what will impact our family in the years to come is extremely important to me. But as a woman of childbearing age with a daughter, the issues of female reproductive health care are extremely important to me.
When I hear old white men calling rape a gift from God, or some asshole insisting that if a woman is legitimately raped, she cannot become pregnant – there is a really big and scary issue upon us.
As a strong pro-choice feminist, these were issues important to me. And clearly millions of other women across the country because the jack-holes who made those statements got voted out. For the first time in history there will be more women and minorities serving our country on various levels of government. That is a big deal, and America spoke clearly.
If you call the American middle class struggle many of us have been going through the face of entitlement, I am proud to wear that badge. But then I think we should stop and take a look at what entitlement really means!