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What is the Stupak Amendment? Why do we need to get rid of it?

November 14, 2009

What Is It

The Stupak-Pitts Amendment (widely referred to as simply the Stupak Amendment) was included at the last minute in the House’s Health Care bill.  This amendment effectively bans abortion coverage in all plans, both public and private, in the new insurance exchange.  No plans in the exchange may cover abortion under this amendment. 

What It Does

Proponents of this amendment claim that it simply enforces the Hyde Amendment (which is already on the books and prohibits federal funds from being used to subsidize abortion).  In reality, however, the Stupak Amendment goes further.  It would effectively ban abortion coverage for both women on public plans AND women who buy private plans through the exchange.  Not only would women receiving a federal subsidy not be able to get abortion coverage, but women who are paying their entire premium out of pocket (that is, not receiving federal subsidies) would be denied coverage.  It is a ban on coverage.  It would restrict coverage for women who currently have coverage through their private insurance plans. 

Why It Needs To Go

The Stupak Amendment bans abortion coverage completely within the exchange.  Its purpose is not to maintain the status quo of abortion coverage, but rather to deny abortion services to millions of women, whether they are receiving federal subsidies or not.  It would prevent women from paying for abortion coverage out of pocket.  This amendment represents a severe restriction on women’s reproductive rights and as such cannot be allowed into the final bill.

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