In the wake of the weekend’s Senate abortion language "compromise"
pro-choice activists are still sorting out all the details and trying to decide
where they should stand on the passage of the final health care reform bill. Many pro-choice organizations have already indicated they will oppose final passage if the language stays in.
In the House, the 190-member
Pro-Choice Caucus said they "serious reservations about the abortion
provision included in the U.S. Senate’s health care bill."
Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.)
and Louise M. Slaughter (D-N.Y.), the co-chairwomen of the abortion-rights
caucus, stopped short of saying they would oppose the Senate bill’s abortion
language as similarly-aligned groups have.
Leaders of the caucus said they will be meeting with "attorneys and insurance companies" before deciding how to proceed.
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Many pro-choice groups have already issued statements
condemning the language in the manager’s amendment, and a few were
already coming out in opposition to passage of the final bill.
Cecile Richards, president of Planned
Parenthood Federation of America, is opposing the Senate version.
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.
Several pro-choice organizations have made similar statments to say that if the Nelson language remains in the final bill they will oppose its passage. NARAL
Pro-Choice America is likely to withhold support if the language stays in.
The language regarding abortion coverage comes at too high a price for reproductive health. Thus, we must oppose this new Nelson language. And NARAL Pro-Choice America withholds support from the overall health-reform legislation until we assess the totality of provisions in the final bill that comes out of a conference committee between the House and Senate.
O’Neill, president of NOW,
says they will call on senators to reject final passage of the health care
reform bill if the language in the manager’s amendment remains.
Some pro-choice groups issued struck a more conciliatory
note. Vicki Saporta, president and CEO of the National Abortion
Federation, says "the Nelson language in the manager’s amendment places an
unreasonable burden on women by mandating that they take unnecessary steps in
paying for abortion coverage." She concludes by saying they will "work to
ensure that such abortion restrictions are removed from the health care reform
bill in conference."
Nancy Northup, president of the Center
for Reproductive Rights, also issued a statement that CRR "will work with
the Congress going forward to fix this dubious equation."
T. Poppema, board chair of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, said "we
will continue working with our pro-choice allies to improve the language in the
final health reform bill.”
Meanwhile the Marcia D. Greenberger, co-president of the National
Women’s Law Center issued this statement.
The Senate bill, while containing
some major advances for women, falls short of what’s needed to truly protect
While the manager’s amendment marks
an important step toward the historic passage of health care reform
legislation, the final conference report must be strengthened. NWLC will not
rest until health care reform finally works for women and their families.