Anti-Abortion Amendment To Health Care Bill Defeated

"Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) sought Wednesday to tighten language in the bill prohibiting federal funds from being used on abortions, but the amendment failed 10-13." What else is flying under the radar in this bill?

In the clip above, Senator Debbie Stabenow has been fighting the good fight on health care reform. When faced with Orrin Hatch's amendment to increase restrictions on abortion in the health care bill, she let it be known she was "offended," saying, "This is an unprecedented restriction on people who pay for their own health insurance." Hatch's amendment would have forced women with existing coverage to have their coverage altered and restricted, which may result in riders, where abortion would default to being an outside health cost one would need to pay extra to have insurance cover.


Over at Broadsheet, Lynn Harris reminds us that even though the amendments did not pass, our rights are still at risk:

Ever since last November, women's rights advocates have been warning that when it comes to reproductive justice, even the election of a gag-rule-repealin' president hardly means that we can now just mix up an Obamatini and call it a day. If anything, we've seen newly galvanized state legislatures and abortion opponents take it up a notch or nine, resulting in not only the assassination of Dr. George Tiller but also the very real possibility that health care reform will leave women with even less access to abortion than before.

"Health care reform was supposed to be about expanding care, making sure that people get the basic comprehensive care they need to live healthy lives. The Obama Administration also promised that no one would lose the coverage they currently have," Stephanie Poggi, executive director of the National Network of Abortion Funds, told Broadsheet today. "Yet, unless we're able to really turn things around, millions of women are in great danger of losing coverage they already have — and this country is in danger of expanding inequality, instead of affordable coverage."

She adds: "If abortion is excluded from new public subsidies for health care reform, this will be an expansion of abortion restrictions. And an expansion of the restrictions that target poor women, who are disproportionately women of color."

Even though the Hyde Amendment has been in play for over thirty years and already prohibits the government from funding abortion, anti-choice advocates like Hatch are still pushing for even more restrictions.

The scariest part of all is in the numbers. While the measure was defeated, both bills still had 10 Senators in favor.

Abortion Amendment fails [Politico]
Stabenow ‘Offended' by Abortion Amendment [Washington Independent]
Will You Lose Insurance Coverage For Abortion? [Broadsheet]
What is the Hyde Amendment? [Hyde 30 Years is Enough]


Flackette Knits A Lot

I called Mitch McConnell (my senator) today and told his phone-answering person that as a former intern in that very office, a former Republican and a lifelong Kentuckian, I did not want to see women's health options restricted. I called at the urging of the message I received after donating to Planned Parenthood today. I wanted them to know there are pro-choice people in Kentucky, because I know the anti-choicers are vocal. And I hope someone stops to think about the fact that a 30 year old woman who spent her very early 20s working in conservative politics (before the party went all Bush and Cheney on me) is concerned enough about women's healthcare to call up her recalcitrant GOP Senator and give his office an earful about healthcare reform.