American Association of University Women – Two Minute Activist

American Association of University Women – Two Minute Activist.

An Attack on Reproductive Health Care: The New Domestic Gag Rule

On Saturday night, the House passed the largest health care overhaul bill in 40 years.  Many of AAUW’s key priorities were included in the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962), including coverage for maternity care, preventive care, an end to gender rating, and other protections for women.  It’s a victory for millions of Americans who are one step closer to quality, affordable health care.

Unfortunately, this victory came at a price that is outrageous and unacceptable.  Anti-choice representatives also passed an amendment to the bill that will severely undermine women’s access to complete and safe reproductive health care services.  The amendment, offered by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), will eliminate coverage for abortion services in the public option.  Current law already bans the use of federal dollars to pay for abortion, but this amendment goes further by prohibiting women who receive federal subsidies from purchasing a comprehensive insurance plan that includes abortion services.

Private plans that offer abortion coverage would be banned from receiving funding. This type of restriction would force private insurance companies to choose between eliminating abortion coverage for all insured members and being eligible to serve patients by receiving federal subsidies. As a result, millions of women who have this coverage now would lose it, effectively ending coverage for abortion services and instituting what amounts to a domestic gag rule.  Women who could afford it could pay extra for a “rider” policy to cover such services, but the very nature of unplanned pregnancies makes this an illogical and impractical notion.

AAUW has long advocated for choice in the determination of one’s reproductive life and increased access to health care and family planning services.  There’s no doubt that health care reform is desperately needed, but it should not come on the backs of women.  A fundamental principle of health care has always been to “do no harm.”  Make no mistake; the Stupak amendment does just that–leaving millions of women worse off than they were before.  This is the biggest attempt to ban abortion services in years, and a similar amendment is already in the works in the Senate.

Take Action!
Contact your senators today and urge them to oppose any amendments that jeopardize women’s access to complete reproductive health care coverage.  Simply scroll down and follow the instructions to compose and send your messages. Then, take another minute to contact your representative about his or her vote on the Stupak amendment.


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