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November 16, 2009

NARAL Pro-Choice America Delivers Petition with Thousands of Signatures to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Pro-choice group exceeds goal of collecting 72,000 signatures in 72 hours;petition delivery coincides with NARAL's launch of grassroots mobilization campaign

Washington, DC – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, made a trip to Capitol Hill today to deliver a petition to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that calls on him to resist pressure from anti-choice groups to insert the extreme anti-choice Stupak-Pitts language in the Senate's version of health-reform legislation.

Keenan said the organization worked with its state affiliates and other progressive partners, including People for the American Way, to collect 97,218 signatures in 72 hours. More than 43,000 of the signatures came from, a web site NARAL Pro-Choice America established last week after the U.S. House adopted the anti-choice Stupak-Pitts amendment as part of its health-care bill.

"America's pro-choice majority is speaking up loudly and clearly," Keenan said. "As the fight for health reform moves forward, we are making sure Sen. Reid and his colleagues understand that adding the anti-choice Stupak-Pitts language to the Senate bill is not an option."

The petition delivery marks the next phase of NARAL Pro-Choice America's grassroots mobilization to fight efforts to put the Stupak-Pitts abortion-coverage ban in the Senate bill. The Associated Press reported over the weekend that the leading pro-choice political organization is "sending out automated calls in 17 states to connect abortion rights supporters at the touch of a button to senators who are seen as potential swing votes on the issue, asking them to oppose the 'abortion ban.' Phone banks by nine NARAL state affiliates are pitching in, targeting their calls to states including Nevada, home to Reid."

Keenan cited the Stupak-Pitts amendment, as passed by the U.S. House, which makes it virtually impossible for private insurance companies that participate in the new system to offer abortion coverage to women. The Stupak-Pitts language would have the effect of denying women the right to use their own personal private funds to purchase an insurance plan with abortion coverage in the new health system—a radical departure from the status quo. Presently, more than 85 percent of private-insurance plans cover abortion services.

"This is a critical time for American women," Keenan said. "Since the House passed a bill that included the Stupak-Pitts amendment, our supporters have channeled their outrage into action—and they're ready to go the distance to defeat the Stupak-Pitts abortion-coverage ban in the Senate."

Photos of the petition delivery may found be at this link:

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