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An Amendment that Punishes Women

El Diario/La Prensa, Editorial, Staff Posted: Nov 13, 2009

After trading off the rights and health of women, some Democrats are aiming to make changes to an anti abortion amendment during negotiations with the Senate. We urge the House and Senate to act as if women matter more than the narrow, conservative agenda trying to control personal health decisions.

Last weekend, the House voted through a bill to propel health care reform. While this represents a step forward in some respects, what it outrageous is how Republicans, along with conservative-leaning Democrats, are making health reform a hostage of the debate on abortion, as well as on immigration.

Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky, the co-chair of the Congressional Women's Caucus, warned that the amendment included in the bill goes beyond a current ban of the use of federal funding for abortions.

This amendment says that a woman cannot purchase coverage that includes abortion services using her own dollars Her only option is to buy a separate insurance policy that covers only abortion - a ridiculous and unworkable approach since no woman anticipates needing an abortion.

For women who are poor, this measure is even more crushing. As is, one in four women living in poverty who want to choose abortion cant because politicians prevent federal tax dollars from covering the procedure, according to the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

Democrats are focused on a political victory and indeed Republicans are aiming to use any divisive tactic to sabotage health care reform. But an amendment that undermines access to abortion, that disproportionately and adversely affects the health decisions of women is no victory.

We urge the House and the Senate to come to their senses. The idea here is reform, not stepping back into the dark and dangerous age of wire hangers and backroom abortions.

Related Articles:

Senate Has Final Word on Health Care Reform

Sotomayor: Roe v. Wade and the Right to Privacy

California Hispanics: Pro-Choice

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