National Organization for Women (NOW)

For Immediate Release


Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116; cell 202-641-1906

NOW Outraged at House Vote on Abortion Coverage -- Women's Rights Traded Away

WASHINGTON - NOW is outraged to learn that the House Energy and Commerce
Committee passed an amendment excluding abortion services from the
"essential" health benefits package as defined by the government. Under
this amendment, subsidies used to help pay insurance premiums for
low-income people could not be used for abortion services. The New York
Times reports that "insurers must use money from private sources to pay
for any abortions."

"Reproductive health care is a fundamental right. Any health care
plan that does not cover the full range of reproductive services, including
abortion, discriminates against women," said NOW President Terry
O'Neill. "Once again, our representatives are giving in to the right
wing by trading away women's rights. Well, I have a message for them,
our reproductive rights are not theirs to give away."

O'Neill noted that a majority of voters support coverage for
abortion services, with only about a quarter opposed to using tax
dollars to pay for abortion. In addition, a recent study found that
most people in the U.S. with employer-based insurance currently have
coverage for abortion. "Don't low-income people deserve the same level
of coverage as other people in this country?" asked O'Neill. "Our
lawmakers should be ashamed of themselves for perpetuating class-based
and gender-based biases as they attempt to 'reform' our broken health
care system."


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The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW has 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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