Amendments to Baucus Health Bill Unfairly Limit Abortion Coverage

Center Calls on Senate Finance Committee to Defeat Amendments

(PRESS STATEMENT) Today, the Center for Reproductive Rights called on the Senate Finance Committee to oppose all of the anti-choice amendments to the healthcare bill that was proposed last week by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT). Friday evening, a total of seven amendments (listed below) that would unduly limit coverage for abortion under healthcare reform were offered. The Committee is set to begin considering the amendments tomorrow. Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, issued this statement in response:

"The Center for Reproductive Rights strongly urges the Senate Finance Committee to defeat any anti-choice amendments to the Baucus health proposal. As a whole, these amendments unfairly limit abortion coverage under healthcare reform and in some cases, ban it altogether.

"Most damaging is an amendment offered by Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) which would block any requirement that at least one health plan offer abortion coverage. Today, most private insurers offer abortion coverage, and it is critical that no healthcare bill backslide from the current state of affairs. Senator Enzi also offered an amendment that would require women to purchase additional abortion coverage above and beyond their primary benefits package. Research has shown that these "abortion riders," currently policy in five states, are ineffective. Women are unlikely to pay additional money up front for abortion coverage because they don't plan on having an unintended or health-threatening pregnancy. And for that reason, health insurers are unlikely to even offer the separate rider as an option.

"Abortion is the most common surgical procedure in the United States and one in three women will have one in their lifetimes. Under these amendments, millions of women would not only lose the benefits they already have, but be forced to buy insurance that does not meet all of their medical needs. We will continue to monitor the process in the Senate closely to ensure the women's health needs don't get lost in the politicking over healthcare."

 

351 Hatch C10 Restoration of funding for abstinence education
354 Hatch C13 Non-discrimination on abortion and respect for conscience
355 Hatch C14 Prohibits authorized or appropriated federal funds under this Mark from being used for elective abortions and plans that cover such abortions
426 Enzi C12 To ensure that no mandates on abortions are prohibited
427 Enzi C13 To ensure that abortions are not paid for with federal funds and for the purchase of supplemental abortion coverage without federal funds
428 Enzi C14 To ensure state abortion laws and regulations are not preempted by provisions in the underlying bill
429 Enzi C15 To ensure that conscience protections are applied