New Senate Health Care Language Shortchanges Women's Right To Choose

December 19, 2009 12:00 am

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December 19, 2009
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WASHINGTON – The Senate today agreed to new abortion language offered by Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) that will be added to the Senate health care bill. The language appears in the manager’s amendment which is comprised of several amendments agreed to in advance of a full Senate vote. The Senate voted earlier this month to table, thus defeating, an amendment introduced by Senators Nelson and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) that would have imposed severe restrictions on women’s access to abortion care. A similar amendment, the Stupak-Pitts amendment, passed in the House last month. The American Civil Liberties Union strongly opposes the current Nelson language in the manager’s amendment.

The following can be attributed to Vania Leveille, ACLU Legislative Counsel:

“The ACLU fully rejects this so-called compromise. The Nelson language is yet another attempt to impede a woman’s right to make private health care decisions. It will further stigmatize abortion and create a needless barricade for women to access comprehensive health care. Women will be required, every month, to make unnecessary dual health care payments to ensure they have the coverage they need. The Nelson language will, in effect, create a redundant and separate health care system for women.

“This kind of draconian hurdle between women and their right to make private health decisions must not stand. Abortion is a part of basic health care for women, and true health care reform cannot live up to its name if it fails to protect a woman’s right to choose. Health care reform should improve women’s health and lives, not interfere with their right to get the health care they need.”

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