House Passes Measure Threatening Women's Access To Abortion

November 7, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: (202) 675-2312 or media@dcaclu.org

WASHINGTON - The House of Representatives voted tonight on the Affordable Health Care for America Act which included an amendment added by Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and Joseph Pitts (R-Pa.) which would impose unprecedented restrictions on women's access to abortion. The amendment will deny abortion coverage to women who already have it and who pay for part of the cost of their private health insurance plan. The American Civil Liberties Union strongly condemns the amendment and will work with members of Congress to ensure that the provision does not survive.

"Today’s vote in the House of Representatives in favor of the Pitts-Stupak amendment to deny women access to abortion in health care reform legislation is a direct attack on women's right to make private health care decisions," said Vania Leveille, ACLU Legislative Counsel. "By prohibiting individuals who receive federal subsidies from purchasing private insurance plans that provide abortion care, even when they contribute to the cost with their own funds, members of the House have grossly distorted the meaning of health care reform."

"The anti-abortion agenda is now in full view," said Louise Melling, Director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. "They have hidden behind the guise of prohibiting public funding for abortion but this amendment goes far beyond that.  Additionally, the assertion in Congressman Stupak’s amendment that women should purchase a separate rider to receive abortion coverage is illogical and demonstrates a callous and regrettable disregard for the reality of women’s lives.  No woman plans for an unintended or medically catastrophic pregnancy. This is too bitter a pill for us to swallow."

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