With concern escalating across the country over proposed restrictions on private health insurance coverage of abortion included in the health care reform bill passed by the House last week, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards joined Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and other women leaders in denouncing this anti-women’s health amendment passed by the House. In a press conference today, they called upon the United States Senate to reject this amendment or any proposal like it.
“The Stupak amendment restricts abortion coverage by private health insurance plans in an unprecedented and dangerous manner,” said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. “Women in this country are not going to stand for the government making personal medical decisions about what’s best for them and their families or dictating what kind of health insurance they can buy. This is not what the American people want.”
The Stupak abortion coverage ban prohibits millions of women from using their own money to buy private health insurance that provides comprehensive reproductive health care benefits, including abortion care. As more members of Congress and the public have learned more about the amendment, they have begun to quickly realize that it is an unacceptable “middle-class abortion ban.” If enacted, millions of low-income and middle-class women will be prohibited from purchasing, through the new health insurance exchange, private insurance that covers abortion, a legal medical procedure.
The ban also runs counter to a central tenet of health care reform — that no one loses benefits they currently have. Under the Stupak ban, women who have insurance now that covers comprehensive reproductive health care will lose their coverage if they chose to purchase coverage through the exchange. In short, they will lose coverage and be worse off after health care reform than they are now.
“A lack of access to full reproductive health care puts the lives of women and girls at grave risk,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This anti-choice measure poses greater restrictions on low-income women and those who are more likely to receive some kind of subsidy and less likely to be able to afford a supplemental insurance policy. Denying low-income women reproductive coverage in this way is discriminatory and dangerous. Without proper coverage, women will be forced to postpone care, while attempting to find the money they need to pay for it. Or these women will be forced to return to dangerous, back-alley providers. Women and girls deserve better.”
The Stupak ban is a radical proposal that upends the status quo on abortion coverage in the United States. The Stupak ban goes far beyond the Hyde amendment, which has prohibited public funds for abortion in most cases since 1977, by restricting abortion coverage for millions of women by private health insurance plans.
Planned Parenthood noted that the Stupak ban is not only awful policy, it is bad politics. Women understand the implications of the Stupak ban, and they are insisting that their elected officials strip this amendment from the health care reform bills before Congress.
Planned Parenthood is committed to providing women with the comprehensive reproductive health care they need. More than 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood health centers provide is preventive and primary care, like cancer screenings, STD testing and contraception. Planned Parenthood works hard to reduce unintended pregnancies, but when women are faced with one, it is imperative that they continue to have options that protect their health.
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.
May 14, 2014