Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tell the Senate: No Further Restrictions on Abortion In Health Care Reform

I just can't write another blog this morning on abortion in health care reform. Senators Nelson and Hatch introduced the Senate version of the Stupak amendment, which if passed, will mean that increased abortion restrictions will be part of health care reform if passed. It's likely to be voted on today. As I've written here and on Huffington Post, it puts pro-choice advocates in an impossible position of having to choose between supporting health care reform and access to abortion services.

The Religious Institute joined twelve other religious organizations in sending a letter to the Senate. I'm reprinting it below. I don't think I have anything new to say -- except that if you haven't called your Senator, NOW is the time to do so.

Here's the letter:

The undersigned religious and religiously affiliated organizations urge the Senate to support comprehensive, quality health care reform that maintains the current Senate language on abortion services.

We believe that it is our social and moral obligation to ensure access to high quality comprehensive health care services at every stage in an individual’s life. Reforming the health care system in a way that guarantees affordable and accessible care for all is not simply a good idea—it is necessary for the well-being of all people in our nation.

The passage of meaningful health reform legislation will make significant strides toward accomplishing the important goal of access to health care for all. Unfortunately, the House-passed version of health reform includes language that imposes significant new restrictions on access to abortion services. This provision would result in women losing health coverage they currently have, an unfortunate contradiction to the basic guiding principle of health care reform. Providing affordable, accessible health care to all Americans is a moral imperative that unites Americans of many faith traditions. The selective withdrawal of critical health coverage from women is both a violation of this imperative and a betrayal of the public good.

The use of this legislation to advance new restrictions on abortion services that surpass those in current law will serve only to derail this important bill. The Senate bill is already abortion neutral, an appropriate reflection of the fact that it is intended to serve Americans of many diverse religious and moral views. The bill includes compromise language that maintains current law, prohibiting federal funds from being used to pay for abortion services, while still allowing women the option to use their own private funds to pay for abortion care. American families should have the opportunity to choose health coverage that reflects their own values and medical needs, a principle that should not be sacrificed in service of any political agenda.

We urge the Senate to support meaningful health reform that maintains the compromise language on abortion services currently in the bill.


Catholics for Choice
Disciples Justice Action Center
The Episcopal Church
Jewish Women International
National Council of Jewish Women
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Washington Office
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
The Religious Institute
Union of Reform Judaism
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Methodist Church-General Board of Church and Society
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

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