Press Release (11-09-09): PPDE Condemns Passage of Stupak/Pitts Amendment

Calls for Delaware Senators to Reject Language in Senate Health Bill


Emily Knearl
302.655.7296, ext. 36

Published: 11.09.09| Updated: 11.17.09

(Wilmington, DE)—Planned Parenthood of Delaware condemns the adoption of the Stupak/Pitts amendment in the US House of Representatives on Saturday, which was the result of a midnight deal between House leadership and anti-choice forces. The amendment was added to the national health care bill, HR 3962, that passed the House this weekend.

Simply put, the Stupak/Pitts amendment would restrict women’s access to abortion coverage in the private health insurance market, undermining the ability of women to purchase private health plans that cover abortion, even if they pay for the premiums with their own money. This amendment reaches much further than the Hyde Amendment, which has prohibited public funding of abortion in most instances since 1977.   

The Stupak/Pitts amendment violates the spirit of health care reform, which is meant to guarantee quality, affordable health care coverage for all. In fact, this amendment would create a two-tiered system that would punish women, particularly those with low and middle incomes, the very people this bill is intended to assist. The majority of private health insurance plans currently offer abortion coverage, and the Stupak/Pitts amendment would result in the elimination of private abortion coverage in the ‘exchange,’ the new insurance market created under health care reform.  

“PPDE is particularly disappointed that Representative Mike Castle voted to support the amendment,” said Nanci Hoffman, President & CEO of PPDE.  “The amendment is not just about maintaining the current status quo under the Hyde Amendment but it goes much further than that.  Even if a person or small company participates in the exchange with a private insurer and pays for the premium entirely out-of-pocket, abortion coverage would still not be available without a rider.”

The Stupak/Pitts amendment would purportedly allow women who want comprehensive reproductive health care coverage to purchase a separate, single-service rider to cover abortion.  But such abortion riders do not exist because women do not plan to have unintended pregnancies or medically complicated pregnancies that require ending the pregnancy.  These so-called ‘abortion riders,’ which would be the only insurance policy through which abortion care could be covered in the ‘exchange,’ are discriminatory and illogical.  Proposing a separate ‘abortion rider’ or ‘single-service plan’ is tantamount to banning abortion coverage since no insurance company has an incentive to offer such a policy. 

Most telling is the fact that the vast majority of members of the House who supported the Stupak/Pitts amendment did not support or vote for HR 3962, revealing their true motive, which is to restrict choice in this country. These single-issue advocates simply used health care reform to advance their agenda at the expense of tens of millions of women.    

As the US Senate works toward its own vote on health care bill, PPDE calls upon Senators Tom Carper and Ted Kaufman to take a stand for women’s health and reject any language that resembles the Stupak/Pitts Amendment. 


About PPDE
The mission of PPDE is to ensure the right of all individuals to access the appropriate information and the services necessary to make and act on personal decisions related to their own reproduction, sexuality and health. Planned Parenthood provides family planning, prenatal care, nutrition counseling, abortion, cancer screening and prevention, health education, and more. The agency serves all three counties and has operated in Delaware for over 75 years.

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