Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) applauds Senators Collins, Leahy, Sanders, Shaheen, and Snowe, for voting against the Nelson/Hatch amendment. This amendment is an unacceptable addition to the health care reform bill that, if enacted, would have resulted in women losing health benefits they have today. Simply put, the Nelson/Hatch amendment would have restricted a woman’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 most of 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.
PPNNE serves nearly 55,000 women, men, and teens through its 24 health centers across Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, and has worked tirelessly on behalf of those patients for affordable, quality health care. On behalf of the thousands of women Planned Parenthood health centers serve in northern New England, PPNNE wants to thank Senators Collins, Leahy, Sanders, Shaheen, and Snowe, for standing up for women’s health and voting to oppose Nelson/Hatch. PPNNE now urges Senate and House leaders to ensure there is no Stupak-like amendment included in the final version of health care reform that comes out of the conference committee.
The Nelson/Hatch and Stupak/Pitts amendments violate the spirit of health care reform, which is meant to guarantee quality, affordable health care coverage for all. In fact, these amendments 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, as well as in the public option, if one is created.