DENVER - Statement by Vicki Cowart, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, on proposed abortion language in the Senate manager's amendment:
"Planned Parenthood strongly opposes the new abortion language offered by Sen. Ben Nelson in the manager's amendment. Last week, the Senate rejected harsh restrictions on abortion coverage, and it is a sad day when women's health is traded away for one vote.
"The Nelson language is essentially an abortion rider. It creates an unworkable system whereby individuals are required to write two separate checks each month, one for abortion care and one for everything else. There is no sound policy reason to require women to pay separately for their abortion coverage other than to try to shame them and draw attention to the abortion coverage. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that insurance companies will be willing to follow such an administratively cumbersome system, leaving tens of millions of women without abortion coverage.
"After the passage of the Stupak amendment in the House, we heard loud and clear from women across our region that they will not stand for the undermining of their rights and their access to benefits. This Nelson abortion check provision will no doubt create the same outrage, as women learn that they are being made second-class citizens when it comes to health care coverage.
"As many members of Congress and the president believe, Planned Parenthood does not think that health care reform is the forum to litigate abortion policy. Unfortunately, opponents continue to use abortion as a political wedge at every step of the reform process.
"There is no policy reason for this action; it is simply a political maneuver. We understand that leaders in the Senate and the White House want to move the process forward, but given this provision, we have no choice but to oppose the Senate bill. Planned Parenthood will now work with leaders to fix the abortion coverage language in conference."
About Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains
Since 1916, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains has been committed to providing affordable, high quality reproductive health care and teaching comprehensive, medically accurate and age-appropriate sex education. It is the organization’s goal to ensure that every individual has the information, services and freedom to make healthy, responsible decisions about sex and their sexuality. More than 127,000 women, men and young adults annually visit our 29 health centers throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Southern Nevada and Wyoming. For more information about Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, call 1.800.230.PLAN or visit pprm.org for the health center nearest you.
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December 21, 2009