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Nelson Amendment Mirrors Anti-Choice Stupak Abortion Coverage Ban

Planned Parenthood urged U.S. Senators to reject the anti-women’s health and women’s rights amendment introduced today by Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), saying it is nothing more than the Senate Stupak ban on abortion care coverage.

“Planned Parenthood strongly opposes the Nelson/Hatch amendment, which goes far beyond  the Hyde amendment and current law to restrict private health insurance coverage of abortion  in the US,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “This amendment  violates the spirit of health care reform by effectively prohibiting women from using their own money to buy private health insurance that provides comprehensive reproductive health care benefits. Health care reform is meant to guarantee quality, affordable health care coverage for all, not take benefits away from American women.”

The Nelson/Hatch amendment mirrors the Stupak amendment, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Nov. 7, 2009. The Nelson/Hatch amendment, like the Stupak amendment, places a new restriction on women’s access to abortion coverage in the private health insurance market, undermining the ability of millions of women to purchase private health insurance plans that cover abortion care, even if they pay for all of the premium with their own money.

While the majority of private health insurance plans currently offer abortion coverage, the Nelson/Hatch amendment would result in the elimination of abortion coverage in the new health insurance exchange. Insurance industry experts have said that because of the restrictions imposed by the Stupak/Nelson amendment, it is unlikely insurance companies would offer health plans in the exchange that cover abortion.

“Women won’t stand for legislation that takes away their current benefits and leaves them worse off after health care reform. A vote for the Nelson/Hatch amendment is a vote to weaken women’s access to comprehensive reproductive care,” said Richards.

A recent report on NPR stated that, “The ultimate impact of the House abortion amendment could be to change abortion from being a procedure routinely covered by most private insurance plans to a procedure routinely excluded — even in cases of medical emergency.”

A report by the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services also found that “Stupak/Pitts can be expected to move the industry away from current norms of coverage for medically indicated abortions. In combination with the Hyde Amendment, Stupak/Pitts will impose a coverage exclusion for medically indicated abortions on such a widespread basis that the health benefit services industry can be expected to recalibrate product design downward across the board in order to accommodate the exclusion in selected markets.”
Last week, Planned Parenthood along with 60 organizations, representing the Coalition to Pass Health Care Reform and Stop Stupak!, organized a DC lobby day where more than 1,000 supporters traveled to DC to meet with their members of Congress and urged them to oppose Stupak-like language that would restrict women’s health care access.
“More than 90 percent of the care Planned Parenthood provides is preventive and primary. We would, therefore, very much like to see health care reform legislation passed.  Women should be better off after health care reform and the Nelson/Hatch amendment is a giant step backwards in ensuring women have the care they need,” said Richards.


Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433


May 14, 2014