Blog of Rights

Tell the Senate to Protect Abortion Care

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 6:22pm

Are you angry yet? You should be. As you’ve probably heard by now, on November 7, the House passed its health care reform bill. The problem? It also passed an onerous amendment sponsored by Reps. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) that prohibits anyone who participates in the health insurance Exchange and receives federal subsidies from purchasing a plan that covers abortion except in the case of rape or incest or to save the woman’s life. Anyone receiving a federal subsidy who wants abortion coverage would have to purchase a separate abortion rider covering only abortion.

Of course, how many people plan for an unplanned pregnancy and therefore purchase supplemental insurance?

Oh, and in the states that already prohibit insurance companies from covering abortion except through a separate rider, many insurance companies don’t offer said rider. Of course, insurance companies could offer plans that cover abortion for individuals who pay their premiums fully out of their own pockets, provided that the companies also offer identical plans that do not cover abortion. Given the costs associated with offering two identical plans and the limited pool of people eligible to enroll in one of the plans, we don’t know how many insurance companies will elect to take this route.

The reality is that one in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime. We may not all feel the same way about that fact, but everyone's circumstances and health care needs are different and a woman facing an unintended or medically catastrophic pregnancy should be able to decide what is best for herself and her family. We should respect and support a woman’s decision and prohibit government interference in her most private and personal health care decisions.

Fortunately, there is something you can do. Go to our Action Center and tell your senators to oppose a Stupak-like amendment and protect women’s ability to make private health care decisions without government interference. After all, health care reform should improve women's health and lives, not hinder their ability to get the health care they need.

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