Note: The following is a letter to the editor I wrote that appeared in the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram and Madison Capitol Times (both in Wisconsin). The Stupak-like amendment was introduced in the Senate today by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) and will likely be voted on tomorrow (Tuesday, December 8th) so call your senators at (888) 423-5983 now. The U.S. Capitol switchboard is open 24/7 so when you ask for your senators’ offices you may get voice mail. Leave a message!
Without further ado, let’s Stop Stupak!
On November 7th, the House of Representatives passed its version of health care reform, which included an anti-abortion amendment sponsored by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI). According to the American Association of University Women, the Stupak Amendment will prohibit “women who receive federal subsidies from purchasing a comprehensive insurance plan that includes abortion services. Private plans that offer abortion coverage would be banned from receiving funding.”
The Stupak Amendment goes far beyond the 1976 Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortion. Insurance companies participating in the new insurance exchange who receive even one dollar of revenue from federal subsidies will be banned from offering any policies with abortion coverage. An analysis of the amendment by George Washington University found it “will have an industry-wide effect, eliminating coverage of medically indicated abortions over time for all women.”
Abortion is a currently a safe, legal medical procedure. One in three American women will have an abortion by age 45. The risk of death is less than 0.6 per 100,000 procedures here in the U.S. In contrast, 68,000 women die each year in countries where abortion is illegal. (Guttmacher Institute) The Stupak Amendment threatens to take women back to the days of unsanitary back-alley and dangerous self-induced abortions with wire hangers. The Stupak Amendment is not about “unborn” fetuses but saving the lives of women who are already here: daughters, sisters, wives, and yes, even mothers.
Image courtesy Stupak Amendment REVOLT (Facebook)