LETTER: Women's health issues elusive in House health care reform bill

Monday, November 16, 2009 | 4:28 p.m. CST; updated 3:15 p.m. CST, Thursday, November 19, 2009

The House’s health care reform bill was passed at the expense of American women. Even though federal law has prohibited tax money from going toward abortion care for over 30 years, Rep. Bart Stupak shoved through an extreme amendment that takes away insurance coverage from millions of women who already have it – including women who would pay for it out of their own pockets and not with tax dollars.

Currently, between 80 and 90 percent of private insurance companies provide abortion coverage. Under the Stupak Amendment, those companies not only will cease to offer the coverage, but they are effectively banned from doing so by the fine print as well as market incentives, even if a woman wants to pay for it herself. Technically, a woman could purchase an optional abortion “rider” with her plan, but the benefits of a “rider” for abortion are imaginary. By definition, women do not plan their unplanned pregnancies, thus making the rider meaningless at best and facetious at worst.

The Stupak Amendment is an outrageous affront to women. Anti-choice extremists used lies and intimidation to stall reform of a broken health care system and to substitute in its place the most extensive federal abortion ban on coverage we have ever seen. The Senate should note that we will not accept health care reform that is passed on the backs of women.



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