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WASHINGTON – As the Senate debates health care reform, hundreds of Americans joined the American Civil Liberties Union and progressive and women’s rights groups today to ask Congress to protect women’s access to abortion care. Last month, the House of Representatives passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act and adopted an abortion coverage ban offered by Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Joseph Pitts (R-PA).
The Stupak-Pitts amendment jeopardizes the abortion coverage that millions of women currently have. Encouragingly, the amendment was not included in the base Senate bill and President Obama has signaled he does not support the language. Today’s lobby day is a part of the National Week of Action to stop the Stupak-Pitts amendment and is aimed at preventing a similar measure from being added to the Senate bill or in the final health care legislation. The ACLU’s Executive Director, Anthony D. Romero, addressed participants this morning.
The following can be attributed to Romero:
"Today, Americans stand face to face with their lawmakers, demanding that they protect a woman’s ability to make private health care decisions without government interference. It is up to the Senate to ensure that the Stupak-Pitts amendment goes no further. True health care reform will not live up to its name if it fails to protect a woman’s right to access comprehensive care.
“Abortion is part of basic health care for women. We may not all feel the same way about abortion but we should respect and support a woman’s decision. A woman facing an unintended pregnancy should be able to decide what is best for her health and her family. The Stupak-Pitts amendment puts politics before a woman’s health choices.
“The Senate must keep the Stupak-Pitts amendment out of its health care legislation and, when the time comes to merge the House and Senate bills, this toxic language should be omitted from the final measure. Health care reform should improve women’s health and lives, not interfere with their right to get the health care they need.”
To read more about the ACLU's work on reproductive freedom, go to: www.aclu.org/reproductive-freedom