Over the weekend the US House of Representatives passed a landmark bill reforming health-care in the United States. But at the last minute, there was an amendment to ban a number of different financial supports that might be used to provide an abortion.
There are reports that the US Catholic Bishops conference was behind the push by the pro-life Democratic House Caucus.
Both sides credited a forceful lobbying effort by Roman Catholic bishops with the success of the provision, inserted in the bill under pressure from conservative Democrats.[…] Bishops implored their priests and parishioners to call lawmakers. Conservative Democrats negotiating over the issue with party leaders often expressed their desire to meet the bishops’ criteria, according to many people involved in the talks. On Oct. 8 three members of the bishops conference wrote on its behalf to lawmakers, “If the final legislation does not meet our principles, we will have no choice but to oppose the bill.”
On Sunday, some abortion rights advocates lashed out at the bishops. “It was an unconscionable power play,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, accusing the bishops of “interceding to put their own ideology in the national health care plan.”
NOW has a statement on the whole issue here.
The Stupak Amendment goes far beyond the abusive Hyde Amendment, which has denied federal funding of abortion since 1976. The Stupak Amendment, if incorporated into the final version of health insurance reform legislation, will:
* Prevent women receiving tax subsidies from using their own money to purchase private insurance that covers abortion;
* Prevent women participating in the public health insurance exchange, administered by private insurance companies, from using 100 percent of their own money to purchase private insurance that covers abortion;
* Prevent low-income women from accessing abortion entirely, in many cases.