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Democratic Senators Decry Anti-Abortion Bills

US Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), Al Franken (D-MN), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) held a press conference yesterday to speak out against two extreme anti-women’s rights measures introduced by House Republicans to restrict women’s access to health care and reproductive health services.

The House Judiciary Committee’s Constitution Subcommittee held a hearing yesterday on the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” (HR 3), introduced by Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), Congressional Pro-Life Caucus Co-Chair with the support of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). Today the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on the “Protect Life Act” (HR 358), sponsored by Representative Joe Pitts (R-PA).

Senator Boxer stated, “We are sending a clear message to House Republicans that their agenda on women’s health is extreme, it breaks faith with a decades-long bipartisan compromise and it risks the health and lives of women. It also punishes women and businesses with a tax hike if they wish to keep or buy insurance that covers a full range of reproductive health care. We want the women and families of America to know that we will continue to defend women’s health and, with a bipartisan effort, we will stop an agenda that would do them harm.”

HR 3, the “No Tax Payer for Abortion Act,” is misleading and dangerous. It goes way beyond the Hyde Amendment, which has prohibited federal funding of abortion since 1976. If passed, the bill would permanently ban women in the military from obtaining an abortion in a military hospital overseas, even if they pay for it with their own (not federal) money. Taxes will be increased for individuals and small businesses whose private health insurance plans include abortion coverage. Federal workers who pay their own insurance premiums out of pocket would be prohibited from having abortion coverage in their insurance. HR 3 would take the premium assistance promised by health reform away from people who choose a private insurance plan with abortion coverage.

HR 358, the “Protect Life Act,” would “prohibit federal funds from being used to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion services” under the Affordable Care Act.

Reproductive Rights groups, including the Feminist Majority Foundation, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the National Partnership for Women and Families, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the National Abortion Rights League oppose HR 3 and HR 358, which would place extreme limitations on women’s access to reproductive health services.

Sources:

Statement of Barbara Boxer Washington Post 2/8/11; New York Times 2/8/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 2/4/11, 1/21/11

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