Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Urge House Members to Reject More Abortion Restrictions

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NOW Action Alert
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November 04, 2009
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Urge House Members to Reject More Abortion Restrictions
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Action Needed:
Abortion rights opponents are continuing their tactics to stall major health care reform legislation and to press for even more restrictions that would make it impossible for women to obtain insurance coverage for abortion services. This effort threatens to derail an existing compromise known as the Capps amendment that was previously agreed upon in order to allow the health care reform bill to go forward. Tell your House member that you oppose any further changes to language relating to abortion services in health care reform and urge her/him to support this position as well.
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Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), the Catholic Bishops and other anti-abortion rights groups are saying that they will block health care reform if abortion services under insurance policies offered by new health exchanges are not completely excluded. Their goal is to completely eliminate ANY insurance coverage of abortion services; currently, about 90 percent of private insurance plans provide coverage.
The Capps Amendment which was adopted in committee brokered a compromise between abortion rights advocates and opponents. As is often the case with hard-won compromises, few are completely happy with the specifics -- including the National Organization for Women, which maintains that a woman's fundamental right to abortion includes open access to abortion in all public and private health care plans. The Capps Amendment states that at least one of the private insurance options in every premium rating level must include abortion coverage, and at least one of the private plans must exclude abortion coverage in the newly established insurance exchanges. Further, the Capps Amendment ensures that in each region of the country there is at least one plan in the health exchange that offers abortion services but also one plan in the health exchange that does not offer abortion coverage. State laws regarding abortion coverage, funding and referrals are untouched. The Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortion services except in cases of rape, incest or danger to the woman's life, still stands.
Abortion rights supporters in the House have had to accept these serious limitations in order that the critically important health care reform bill can go forward. NOW wants all women to have access to affordable health insurance coverage; but we will not accept any further restrictions on what is a fundamental part of women's health care. Please send a message to your House member today, urging him/her to hold firm against any additional restrictions.
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