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PostPosted: 30 Nov 2009, 13:09 
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Grand Poobah
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Joined: 18 Sep 2007, 11:26
Posts: 5793
Location: Buffalo, NY
What's At Stake:
Women's right to choose has already been severely compromised by the 1977 Hyde Amendment, which states that no public funds can be allocated for abortions. This prevented women on Medicaid and women in the military from obtaining safe, affordable abortions. While some politicians are claiming that the Stupak-Pitts Amendment is essentially the same, the new amendment goes much farther. Under Stupak-Pitts, abortion could not be covered in the private insurance exchange and/or in the public insurance option. Thus, any women wanting an abortion would have to either pay for it out-of pocket, risk an unsafe, illegal abortion, or deliver an unwanted baby. If the Senate passes a similar provision, women of the lower and middle class--effectively a majority of American women--would no longer have the right to choose to obtain safe, affordable abortion services.

National Rally and Lobby, Weds. Dec. 02 in DC - Preserve A Woman's Right to Choose in Health Reform

A few weeks ago, the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to the House version of the health care bill passed in the House of Representatives. Make no mistake: the Affordable Health Care for America Act (HR 3962) as adopted with the Stupak-Pitts Amendment by the House of Representatives on Nov. 7, is one of the largest threats to both the First Amendment and a woman's fundamental, constitutional right to an abortion as recognized by the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade.

This amendment, if included in the final version of the bill sent to President Obama, would severely limit access to abortions. It would also undermine the religious liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment. Opposition to abortion is generally rooted in conservative religious beliefs. Under this amendment, conservative religious ideology would dictate reproductive health policy. We need your help to ensure that the Senate's version of health care reform legislation includes adequate coverage for reproductive health services and protects the constitutional values that make our nation great.

Please join the Center for Inquiry, our coalition partners, and activists in Washington DC on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009 to let Congress know that a woman's right to choose is not an issue for debate, but a right in need of protection.

Tentative Schedule: (subject to change)

9:30 am - 10:30 am: Orientation

10:30 am - 11:30 am: Lobby Visits (everyone sets their own appts)

11:30 am - 1:00 pm: Rally

1:00 pm - 4:30 pm: Lobby Visits (everyone sets their own appts)

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm: Report Back

Email Matt Separa at msepara@centerforinquiry.net As Soon As Possible if you will be able to attend. We will advise you by email of the orientation and training location when it is set. We will also post the information on the OPP's website and Facebook page.


Send a letter to the following decision maker(s):
Your Senators

Below is the sample letter:

Subject: Please Support a Woman's Right to Choose in Health Care Reform

Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],

As a friend of the Center for Inquiry, I ask that you to oppose any amendment to the pending health care bill (an amendment to H. R. 3590) which would limit access to abortions for lower income women by requiring them to purchase separate insurance or fund an abortion out of pocket. The Center for Inquiry is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization devoted to fostering a society based on science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.

Both the Center for Inquiry and I believe that health care services, including abortion and comprehensive reproductive services must be available to all, regardless of income. Proposed amendments that mirror the Stupak-Pitts amendment in the House do exactly the opposite. Under an amendment such as this, women would not be allowed to purchase a health care plan that covers abortion if they receive any federal assistance for their insurance premiums. If women are required to fund abortions out of pocket or buy separate insurance to co ver them, the poor and communities of color will bear the consequences. Already, low-income women are four times as likely to have unintended pregnancies and five times as likely to have unintended births as their higher income counterparts. Prevention of access to abortion services in health care reform will perpetuate inequality, restrict access to a legal medical procedure, and compromise the future of women, their families, and their communities.

Furthermore, amendments that restrict access to abortion services violate the first amendment of the United States Constitution. Opposition to abortion stems mainly from the conservative Christian point of view that abortion is morally wrong. However, mandating this viewpoint has the effect of discriminating against both other faith groups and non-believers. According to Gordon Newby of the Religious Dispatch, "The recently passed House Healthcare Bill might be paving the way to enact religious discrimination into law; o n the important and fundamental issues of life and health, many religious [and secular] Americans will be unable to live and act according to their own religious consciences and beliefs" In addition, this amendment unfairly advantageous the Catholic Health Care system--which owns or operates over one-third of the hospitals in the United States--by removing a competitive advantage secular and other religiously-affiliated hospitals without doctrinal restrictions have--the ability to provide abortions.

Lastly, most Americans support access to abortions in health care reform. Even in the face of opposition arguments, the majority of Americans support coverage of abortions under reform. According to a study conducted by the Mellman Group on behalf of the National Women's Law Center, after hearing strong arguments both for and against covering abortion under reform, two-thirds (66%) support coverage, agreeing that health care, not politics, should drive coverage decisions. Additionally, a majority of voters (72%) reported that they would feel angry if Congress mandated by law that abortion services would not be covered under comprehensive health care reform, which is exactly what this amendment does.

America needs a health care system that serves all persons with dignity and equality. This type of health care system is not possible without allowing health insurance plans offered in the insurance exchange to cover comprehensive reproductive services, including abortion. Congress should preserve the current standard of reproductive health care and ensure that millions of uninsured and underinsured women will still have access to these services after the passage of health care reform. This can only be accomplished by defeating any amendment that would restrict access to abortions for women in America.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

_________________
Chloride and Sodium: Two terribly dangerous substances that taste great together!


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