Friday, July 31, 2009

NOW Outraged at House Vote on Abortion Coverage -- Women's Rights Traded Away

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116; cell 202-641-1906

NOW Outraged at House Vote on Abortion Coverage -- Women's Rights Traded Away
July 31, 2009
NOW is outraged to learn that the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed an amendment excluding abortion services from the "essential" health benefits package as defined by the government. Under this amendment, subsidies used to help pay insurance premiums for low-income people could not be used for abortion services. The New York Times reports that "insurers must use money from private sources to pay for any abortions."
"Reproductive health care is a fundamental right. Any health care plan that does not cover the full range of reproductive services, including abortion, discriminates against women," said NOW President Terry O'Neill. "Once again, our representatives are giving in to the right wing by trading away women's rights. Well, I have a message for them, our reproductive rights are not theirs to give away."
O'Neill noted that a majority of voters support coverage for abortion services, with only about a quarter opposed to using tax dollars to pay for abortion. In addition, a recent study found that most people in the U.S. with employer-based insurance currently have coverage for abortion. "Don't low-income people deserve the same level of coverage as other people in this country?" asked O'Neill. "Our lawmakers should be ashamed of themselves for perpetuating class-based and gender-based biases as they attempt to 'reform' our broken health care system." 

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