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AUL Action: Senate Health Bill Now Leads to Unprecedented Federal Abortion Funding

Wednesday, December 9, 2009 Women Health News J E 4
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"A vote to table the amendment is a vote against the Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment. A majority of Senators effectively endorsed the abortion lobby's goal of mainstreaming abortion as health care."

-- Charmaine Yoest

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Senate voted today to table the Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment, which would have maintained existing law by prohibiting both federal funding of abortion and government-mandated abortion coverage. Without the explicit ban on abortion funding, Americans United for Life Action will now oppose the final health care bill.

Americans United for Life Action President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest stated, "A vote to table the amendment is a vote against the Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment. A majority of Senators effectively endorsed the abortion lobby's goal of mainstreaming abortion as health care."

The Senate health care reform bill explicitly allows the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to include abortion coverage in the "community health insurance option," and allows federal subsidies to go to private insurance plans that include abortion coverage. In addition, the bill also requires that at least one private plan in each exchange provide coverage for all abortions.

Dr. Yoest continued, "The Senate had the opportunity to follow the House's lead in ensuring that federal dollars are not used to pay for abortions. Instead, the Senate chose to reject the Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment and continue down the road towards unprecedented federal funding of abortion."

Four major anti-life concerns in this health care bill:

1) Unprecedented abortion funding: The Senate bill explicitly allows the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to include abortion coverage in the "community health insurance option," and allows federal subsidies to go to private insurance plans that include abortion coverage. In addition, the bill requires that at least one private plan in each exchange provide coverage for all abortions.

2) Rationing of care: The Senate health care reform bill contains provisions that could be used to deny or ration health care.

3) Lacks conscience protection: The Senate bill fails to prohibit government entities from discriminating against health care providers on the basis that they do not participate in abortions. The bill also explicitly provides that insurance plans in the exchange cannot refuse to contract with abortion providers on the basis that they provide abortions.

4) Abortion as "preventive care": The Milkulski amendment added on the Senate floor could mandate abortion coverage under the guise of preventive care. For the first time in history, the federal government could require private insurance companies to cover abortion.

To view AUL Action's score letter on the vote for the Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment, click here.

To view AUL Action's open letter to Planned Parenthood challenging them on their financial interests in health care reform, click here.

To view AUL Action's newspaper ad of our open letter to Planned Parenthood, please click here or here.

Americans United for Life Action President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest and Staff Counsel Mary Harned are available for interviews today and Wednesday about this critical abortion vote and Planned Parenthood's abortion business bailout in the Senate health care bill.

About Americans United for Life Action

AUL Action is the legislative arm of Americans United for Life (AUL). Americans United for Life (AUL) is the first national pro-life organization in America. In 1980, AUL successfully defended the Hyde Amendment before the U.S. Supreme Court in Harris v. McRae. Visit AUL Action's RealHealthCareRespectsLife.com, for background from our legal team about the threats to life in the current health care reform bills.

SOURCE Americans United for Life
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