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Health Care and Abortion Rights

Congress threw women under the bus again yesterday. The following statement from NARAL – National Abortion Rights Action League – explains it all.

As you’ve probably heard, the Senate is moving forward on health reform.
Unfortunately, the revised bill has some bad news for pro-choice Americans.
The Senate bill does not include the egregious Stupak-Pitts provision that you helped us defeat less than two weeks ago, but we are not in the clear.

A new provision demanded by anti-choice Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson is unacceptable. In short, the Nelson proposal would impose great administrative burdens on women who purchase abortion coverage in the new system and plans that offer it. So, where does that leave us?

Our standard has been consistent and clear: Women should not lose ground in the new health-care system.

We all recognize that the Senate bill includes other provisions that will improve women’s access to reproductive-health services significantly. However, the language regarding abortion coverage comes at too high a price for reproductive health. Thus, we must oppose this new Nelson provision.

On balance, that means NARAL Pro-Choice America will withhold support from the overall health-reform legislation until we see the final bill that both the House and Senate will vote on.

As this process moves forward, we will keep in touch with actions you can take to protect choice in health reform. Rest assured, Congress will continue to hear from America’s pro-choice majority.

This situation is  an unfortunate reminder that, despite our significant pro-choice gains in the last two election cycles, anti-choice lawmakers still outnumber our allies. We must work together to change these numbers, starting with the 2010 elections.

Nancy Keenan
President, NARAL Pro-Choice America

Update December 21st: More dismal news: Another feature of the Senate version of the health care reform bill is that it includes an amendment concerning sex education in the schools. Introduced by the Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, it would revive a separate $50 million grant-making program for abstinence-only programs run by states. This despite the fact that abstinence-only sex ed has been proven time and again to be useless, or worse.

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