Pingree to oppose radical bill limiting women's ability to buy private health insurance that covers abortion
Washington, DC, October 13, 2011
Says Congress should stop wasting times on divisive issues and focus on jobs
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree said today she would vote against a divisive amendment to the health care reform law that would limit women's reproductive choices. The proposal (H.R. 358) is expected to come up for a vote in the House later today.
"This bill would dramatically restrict how women with private insurance can spend their own private dollars in purchasing health insurance. It's really a direct attack on a woman's right to choose," Pingree said. "Instead of wasting our time on these extreme, ideological bills, we should be focusing on getting our economy moving again. Passing the American Jobs Act would be a much better use of our timethan opening up an old, divisive fight on abortion."
The health care reform law sets up insurance exchanges beginning in 2014, where Americans can shop for the best value in health insurance and get some subsidies if they can't afford the premiums. The proposal in the House today would amend the law to prevent women who receive any government subsidies for their health care from buying health insurance in the exchange that includes abortion coverage, even if they are paying for it with their own money. Experts say this would effectively end coverage for abortion services in health insurance policies offered in the exchange.
"The goal of this bill is to completely do away with insurance coverage for abortion, nomatter who is paying for it," Pingree said. "It's the latest attempt to take away a woman's right to make her own reproductive choices."
The bill also unravels a federal policy requiring hospitals to provide life-saving treatment to women in emergency situations. On occasion, there are medical conditions that occur during pregnancy in which termination of the pregnancy is the only response that will save the woman's life, but the proposal before the House today would allow hospitals to deny that care under an expanded "conscience protection" provision.