President Obama Betrays Women with Abortion Restriction Deal

Choice Matters stands with the Center for Reproductive Rights in being “deeply disappointment with President Obama’s decision to issue an executive order on abortion restrictions after the House of Representatives approves the healthcare bill. The order, intended to secure support from anti-choice Democrats for healthcare reform legislation, essentially imports the Hyde Amendment strictures to an executive order.

“The President’s decision to issue an executive order designed to assuage Representative Stupak and his cohorts is a betrayal of millions of women across this country and of his campaign promises. The order lends credibility to an already impossibly flawed policy that punishes and discriminates against poor women by denying them the full range of reproductive health services and their constitutional right. Current policy known as the Hyde Amendment was denounced by President Obama himself as a presidential candidate.

“Current law withholds funding for abortion under Medicaid and other federal programs even though the service is one of the most common procedures for American women. For millions of women, these federal programs are their sole means of getting health services, including reproductive healthcare. Abortion is the only medically necessary health service excluded from this coverage. Failure to provide insurance coverage for a medical procedure that only women need is discrimination.

“It is unacceptable that a pro-choice President has put his imprimatur on a highly restrictive and unjust anti-choice measure. Early on in this debate a good faith compromise supported by pro-choice groups was tossed out to appease Representative Stupak and his cohorts. It is tragic that, under a pro-choice administration and a Democratic majority in Congress, harmful anti-choice policy will be the price American women will pay for healthcare reform.” Nancy Northup, president, Center for Reproductive Rights.

Choice Matters supports National NOW President Terry O’Neill
in her statement, “Through this order, the President has announced he will lend the weight of his office and the entire executive branch to the anti-abortion measures included in the Senate bill, which the House is now prepared to pass. President Obama campaigned as a pro-choice president, but his actions today suggest that his commitment to reproductive health care is shaky at best. The message we have received today is that it is acceptable to negotiate health care on the backs of women, and we couldn’t disagree more.”

Sunday’s Health Care Legislation
The health care bill that passed the House of Representatives yesterday imposes unfair and unnecessary burdens on women who choose to purchase abortion coverage and this will expand significantly the pool of women who are not able to get coverage for this basic reproductive health care. Insurance companies have already stated they will not provide abortion coverage because of the bureaucratic nightmare instituted by this legislation. The legislation also permits states to refuse entirely to allow private insurance coverage of abortion in plans offered through state insurance exchanges.

More than 85 percent of private plans cover abortion care today. Those plans will not provide this coverage under the health care bill passed yesterday.

This legislation also include a one-sided “conscience clause” that protects health providers or payers that oppose abortion, but fails to protect those providers who honor women’s right to this legal health service.

What happened to President Obama’s promise to the American people: “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan”?

Health Care legislation at the expense of women’s rights is not reform.

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