The House of Representatives is debating abortion in health care reform as I type this. So I’m going to keep this short and sweet, because the upshot of the post is that if you care about abortion being covered by health insurance, you need to pick up the phone and tell your congressional representative.
This morning, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops met with House leaders in an attempt to limit or eliminate women’s coverage of abortion under the new health care reform. Abortion has been seen as a potentially divisive issue for Democrats in the health care reform debate. Anti-choice Democrats have been threatening to let the bill sink if abortion is covered (which, by the way, is a huge step backward – according to NARAL Pro-Choice America, 85 percent of private health-insurance plans cover some form of abortion services). They say that they can’t support the bill unless it explicitly says that federal money will not be used to offset the cost of abortion.
Now, Representative Bart Stupak (D-Michigan) has introduced an amendment that would make it virtually impossible for private health-insurance companies to both participate in the new system and offer coverage of abortion. This would be a disaster for women’s reproductive choice, because abortion is in many cases prohibitively expensive.
The vote on this amendment will be happening in a matter of hours; the vote on the full health care reform bill should be around 9 PM EST. But I hope that pro-choice members of Congress won’t be forced to choose between abortion coverage and voting for the health care reform bill as a whole. When she was asked earlier today whether her allies in the pro-choice movement would support the bill with the language offered yesterday by Rep. Stupak, Speaker Nancy Pelosi offered a one-word answer: “Yes.”
Let your representatives know that this is important to you – and that being pro-choice does not mean that you need to compromise. Abortion should be part of any comprehensive health care program, and eliminating it is an unwarranted assault on women’s reproductive freedom.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
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