CRR Says New Congress’s Antics at House Hearing on Anti-Choice Bill Largely Missed the Point

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(PRESS RELEASE) The Center for Reproductive Rights today called on the House of Representatives to reject attempts to deceive the American public around the recently introduced bills that ban abortion coverage for millions of women.

The Center’s statement comes a day after a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the recently introduced anti-choice bill “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” (HR 3) and hours before a hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Committee on the bill “Protect Life” (HR 358). Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, issued this response:

“Although the new Congress rose to power in November by touting support for smaller government, the hearing showed that they would massively increase government intrusion into families’ personal, private medical decisions.  The sweeping bills under consideration would control the way women and small businesses spend their private dollars on healthcare.  

“Those testifying made clear that while abortion is the subject of this effort, the same logic could bar insurance coverage for many other necessary services, including contraception or care deriving from stem cell research.  Indeed, the bills would redefine the notion of what constitutes “federal funding” so thoroughly that they could endanger the tax exempt status of religious organizations, as questions to the witnesses pointed out.

“Let us be clear: the Smith and Pitts bills are radical legislation that will imperil women’s lives. The Smith measure is deceptively named “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” when it raises taxes on small businesses and middle-class families. The Pitts bill reaches into the private insurance market and takes the abortion coverage that millions of women already have.  Both bills refusal provisions cruelly trump current law protecting patients who need an emergency abortion services – allowing hospitals to refuse them life-saving treatment.

“Anti-choice politicians want to stop health insurers from providing abortion coverage and ultimately, prevent women from getting an abortion by any means necessary. But access to abortion is a fundamental right.  Politicians in Washington should stay out of these most intimate decisions between a woman and her doctor.”