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Statement of Cecile Richards, President of PPFA, on House Passing Historic Health Care Reform Bill
“Today is a truly historic day for the American people who have long demanded affordable, quality health care coverage.
“For more than a year, Planned Parenthood has worked tirelessly for a health care reform bill that would fix our broken health care system, strengthen women’s health, and achieve quality, affordable health care for all Americans. Today, monumental progress was made toward achieving these goals with the passage of historic health care reform legislation by the U.S. House of Representatives, despite a symbolic gesture, in the form of an Executive Order, to anti-choice Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI), which has diverted attention from the central goal of health care reform — controlling costs and extending coverage.
“As a trusted health care provider to millions of women and families across the country, Planned Parenthood applauds the fact that this legislation would extend health care coverage, including family planning, to tens of millions of women and families, guarantee access to affordable life-saving screenings for cervical and breast cancer and other serious health problems, protect women against gender discrimination by private insurers, end the practice of dropping coverage because of pre-existing conditions, and significantly increase access to reproductive health care. The proposal also includes a commonsense provision to expand family planning under Medicaid, which would significantly increase access to essential preventive health care for millions of women.
“As a result of this historic expansion of health care coverage to more than 30 million Americans, the doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals who work for Planned Parenthood health centers will be providing care to many more women, men, and families who will be seeking primary and preventive care.
“Planned Parenthood is also extremely pleased that members of the House listened to the millions of women and men who expressed their strong opposition to the Stupak abortion ban. Stopping the Stupak ban was a high priority for women across the country who rejected the notion that they would not be able to even use their own money to obtain private insurance coverage for abortion. It was a tough fight, but we salute Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D- CA), Congressman Rosa DeLauro (D–CT) , members of the House Pro-Choice Caucus, and all others who stood up for women’s health and women’s rights.
“Nonetheless, we regret that a pro-choice president of a pro-choice nation was forced to sign an Executive Order that further codifies the proposed anti-choice language in the health care reform bill, originally proposed by Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska. What the president’s executive order did not do is include the complete and total ban on private health insurance coverage for abortion that Congressman Bart Stupak (D–MI) had insisted upon. So while we regret that this proposed Executive Order has given the imprimatur of the president to Senator Nelson’s language, it is critically important to note that it does not include the Stupak abortion ban.
“This is a historic day for American people. We regret that a gesture to Congressman Stupak has diverted the nation’s focus from this bill’s accomplishments, including the extension of family planning to millions of women.”