NOW members protest the Stupac-Pitts amendment

NOW members protest the Stupac-Pitts amendment

NOW (National Organization for Women) warns that the Senate will vote on an amendment similar to Stupak-Pitts that would prevent millions of women from obtaining insurance coverage for abortion under their version of health care reform, S1796. Is that the bill number or the year they intend to regress to?

It appears advocates will use this amendment to hold health care reform hostage unless this affront against women is included.

This comes on the heals of the passed house Stupak-Pitts, anti-abortion amendment and the more recent mammogram media blitz tactic that blamed the White House for an independent private sector task force recommendation. It appears the health care insurance industry and their friends in Congress are out to target women in an all out effort to discredit health care reform.

NOW posted the following to it members on their website:

Reportedly, Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Bob Casey (R-Penn.) may offer a version of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to be attached to the Senate bill. That means, in all likelihood, if the Senate adopts this harmful amendment, it will remain in the final Senate-House conference bill and become law. Alternatively, a modified variation of Stupak-Pitts could be incorporated into the bill. Either way, millions of women lose — big time.

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The Stupak-Pitts amendment explained:

* The ban on abortion coverage in insurance would apply to both the proposed public option and to private health insurance plans sold in the new regional health insurance exchanges. It is estimated that some 36 million uninsured persons would be purchasing insurance policies through new exchanges and would be eligible for federal affordability subsidies.
* Health insurers may not sell plans that cover abortion to customers who are paying without a subsidy, if even just one person who is receiving the federal affordability credits (the subsidy) were to purchase a plan. In other words, even if you are paying 100 percent of your insurance costs, abortion coverage would not be available in your plan if anyone with affordability credits joins the same plan.
* Women may purchase a separate abortion “rider” for coverage, though many doubt that these riders would be offered by the insurance companies.
* Small companies (fewer than 100 employees) would also likely purchase health insurance through the exchange, but if any of their employees received affordability credits no abortion coverage could be included.
* Eighty-seven percent of employer-based insurance plans now cover abortion services, but if employers withdraw coverage and send their employees to the health insurance exchanges, those employees would likely lose abortion coverage under these new prohibitions.

There may be a modified version of this harmful amendment that is included in the Senate health care reform bill that will be debated next week. We want to make sure that Stupak-Pitts language is not used and that no variation of this harmful amendment is passed. Please send a message to your senators that you oppose any restrictions on insurance coverage of abortion. Thank you for all the work you do for women’s rights.

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