Friday, November 20, 2009

Update on Anti-choice Language in the new Healthcare Bill


An Important Message from National NOW President, Terry O'Neill Regarding Anti-choice Language in the new Healthcare Bill. Please Read!


Message from National NOW President, Terry O'Neill
Here is the latest news on our efforts to keep Stupak-type anti-abortion language out of the healthcare bill:

1.      The Senate version doesn't have a Stupak provision.  It does have a Capps-type provision, i.e. a codification of Hyde.

2.       In addition to the codification of Hyde, the Senate bill restricts the ability of a public option plan to cover abortion:  The Secretary of HHS is allowed to choose to have the public option cover abortion.  But if she does, she must also create a public option plan that excludes abortion.  In addition, she has to police the public plan that covers abortion to be sure no public monies are used to fund it.  And she gets audited to ensure that she is policing the plans as instructed.  

3.       This is better than the House bill.  Arguably, it is not worse than the Capps Amendment.  I say arguably, because the devil is in the details and the details are in mind-numbingly obtuse language.  

4.       There will be one or more attempts to add a Stupak-like provision to the Senate base bill.  Our friends believe they have the votes to defeat it. 

5.       There may be one or more attempts to add a compromise between Stupak and Capps.  We are not told if our friends have the votes to defeat that.  

6.       At a meeting this afternoon, PPFA distributed a list of Senate and House targets.  Their message is: Do not vote for Stupak, but do eventually vote for a bill that contains the codification of Hyde.  Some of our pro-choice allies consider it important for the health care bill to pass, even with Hyde in it.  (NOW cannot go that far.  We have policy against trading off the rights of some women for the benefit of others; and we have policy against supporting legislation which is known to result in the deaths of women.) Anyway, I will get you the targets.  

The battle against Stupak-Pitts is far from over.  The Catholic Bishops smell blood and are determined to get some version of S-P into the Senate bill.  We will have to work our hearts out to prevent that from happening.   

NOW and its allies are organizing a mass lobby day on December 2nd.  If you can come to Washington that day, please try to do so.  If you can't, there are rallies being planned around the country.  Florida NOW is organizing a rally to be held on December 5th.  NOW-NYS is organizing one for December 4th.  If there is no rally in your area, please activate your network -- NOW activists, friends, family members -- to urge your Senators to oppose a Stupak-like amendment to the Senate bill. 

It remains absolutely crucial to keep up the pressure to defeat Stupak-Pitts on the Senate side.  That is something we can win, if we work it. 

Thanks for everything you are doing,

Terry O'Neill, President
National Organization for Women
 
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