Last-minute Amendment to Healthcare Bill is Second Attack on Women's Rights This Week

Affiliate: ACLU of Florida
April 21, 2010 12:00 am

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – On the heels of a failed attack on a woman’s right to choose on Monday, three Florida Representatives (Dorworth/Gaet/Plakon) filed an amendment to HB 1503 earlier today that if passed, would prohibit private health insurance providers in Florida from offering abortion coverage to anyone who purchases a plan using funds through the federal health care exchange.

“Abortion is part of basic health care for women, and although we may not all feel the same way about abortion, we should respect and support a woman’s decision,” said Maria Kayanan, ACLU of Florida Associate Legal Director. “Everyone’s circumstances and health care needs are different and intensely personal. A woman facing an unintended or medically catastrophic pregnancy should be able to make the difficult medical decision, with her physician, about what is best for herself and her family.

“This bill purports to improve healthcare, but this amendment is an assault on a woman’s right to make the most personal of medical decisions. Politics has no place in the exam room. This amendment would roll back benefits that millions of women already have, leaving them in a worse position,” Kayanan added.

The amendment, if passed, would also prohibit individuals who receive the affordability tax credits from purchasing a private insurance plan that covers abortion, despite the fact that a majority of health insurance plans currently cover abortion.

The Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama, clearly stipulates that the Hyde Amendment, which restricts public dollars from being used for abortions, must be upheld. The Dorworth/Gaetz/Plakon Amendment goes much further than the Hyde Amendment, placing unnecessary and overbearing limitations on reproductive freedom.

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