Pro Choice Groups Declare War on Anti-Abortion Amendment in Healthcare Bill
Interview with Erin Matson, Action Vice President of the National Organization for Women, conducted by Melinda Tuhus
When the House of Representatives passed a health care reform bill, the measure included what some advocates of abortion rights call the most sweeping abortion restriction in 30 years. Negotiations in the House had been ongoing for months to maintain the status quo, regarding no taxpayer funding for abortions as enshrined in the 1976 Hyde amendment, which denies poor women federal funding for abortions. But when House legislators adopted an amendment proposed by anti-abortion Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-Pa.), they expanded the abortion ban to cover subsidized insurance policies which women buy with their own money. Sixty-four Democrats voted with virtually all the Republicans in favor of the amendment, which passed 240 to 194. The Conference of Catholic Bishops had lobbied hard for the Stupak-Pitts measure.
Pro-choice advocates maintain that birth control and abortion are integral parts of women's health care needs and insist that health care reform should not be a vehicle to deny a woman's fundamental right to choose. Many of these groups are now pushing the Senate to pass a health care bill that does not adopt the Stupak-Pitts amendment and are urging President Obama not to sign any health care bill that restricts women's reproductive rights.
Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Erin Matson, the "Action Vice President" of NOW, the National Organization for Women. She discusses what the Stupak-Pitts amendment portends for reproductive services for millions of American women. And Matson explains what NOW and like-minded groups are doing to fight back.
Contact NOW by calling (202) 628-8669 or visit their website at www.now.org
* NARAL PRO Choice America at www.prochoiceamerica.org
* Planned Parenthood at www.plannedparenthood.org
* Emily's List at www.emilyslist.org
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