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September 30, 2009

NARAL Pro-Choice America Commends Senators for Rejecting Anti-Choice Attack on Women's Private Health Insurance

Bipartisan opposition defeats Hatch amendment that would have taken away abortion coverage for women whose private plans already provide it

Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, praised members of the Senate Finance Committee for rejecting anti-choice senators' attempts to inject divisive politics into the health-reform debate.

Most notably, a bipartisan majority of senators voted against Sen. Orrin Hatch's (R-Utah) push to impose a broad abortion ban in the new health-care system. In the current insurance marketplace, private plans can choose whether to cover abortion care – and most do. Hatch's amendment would ban any private plan from offering abortion services as part of its larger benefit package in a health-insurance exchange. Such a requirement would strip coverage from millions of women who already have it. The amendment failed, 10-13.

Keenan said Hatch's amendment is one of many examples of anti-choice politicians seeking to use diversions to derail health-reform efforts, despite an already-existing compromise agreement not to use of federal tax dollars for abortion services.

"Women won a significant initial victory in the Finance Committee, but we are nowhere near the finish line," Keenan said. "Anti-choice politicians like Sen. Hatch are determined to attack legal abortion, even if it causes women to lose coverage they already have. We channeled thousands of messages from our members to senators' offices making it clear that it's unacceptable for women to lose ground in the new health system. We will continue to mobilize America's pro-choice majority to stop divisive attacks on abortion coverage as the health-reform process moves to the next stage."

Regrettably, the committee adopted an amendment restoring funding for the discredited "abstinence-only" program, which NARAL Pro-Choice America opposes and will work to remove from the legislation as the process moves forward.

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