Pro-Choice Groups Will Not Back Passage of Senate Bill With Nelson Language

In the wake of the weekend’s Senate abortion language "compromise"
pro-choice activists are still sorting out all the details and trying to decide
where they should stand on the passage of the final health care reform bill. Many pro-choice organizations have already indicated they will oppose final passage if the language stays in.

In the House, the 190-member
Pro-Choice Caucus
said they "serious reservations about the abortion
provision included in the U.S. Senate’s health care bill."

Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.)
and Louise M. Slaughter (D-N.Y.), the co-chairwomen of the abortion-rights
caucus, stopped short of saying they would oppose the Senate bill’s abortion
language as similarly-aligned groups have.

Leaders of the caucus said they will be meeting with "attorneys and insurance companies" before deciding how to proceed.

Many pro-choice groups have already issued statements
condemning the language in the manager’s amendment, and a few were
already coming out in opposition to passage of the final bill.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned
Parenthood Federation of America,
is opposing the Senate version.

We understand that leaders in the
Senate and the White House want to move the process forward, but given this
provision, we have no choice but to oppose the Senate bill.

Several pro-choice organizations have made similar statments to say that if the Nelson language remains in the final bill they will oppose its passage. NARAL
Pro-Choice America
is likely to withhold support if the language stays in.

The language regarding abortion coverage comes at too high a price for reproductive health. Thus, we must oppose this new Nelson language. And NARAL Pro-Choice America withholds support from the overall health-reform legislation until we assess the totality of provisions in the final bill that comes out of a conference committee between the House and Senate.

O’Neill, president of NOW,
says they will call on senators to reject final passage of the health care
reform bill if the language in the manager’s amendment remains.

Some pro-choice groups issued struck a more conciliatory
note. Vicki Saporta, president and CEO of the National Abortion
, says "the Nelson language in the manager’s amendment places an
unreasonable burden on women by mandating that they take unnecessary steps in
paying for abortion coverage." She concludes by saying they will "work to
ensure that such abortion restrictions are removed from the health care reform
bill in conference."

Nancy Northup, president of the Center
for Reproductive Rights
, also issued a statement that CRR "will work with
the Congress going forward to fix this dubious equation."
T. Poppema, board chair of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, said "we
will continue working with our pro-choice allies to improve the language in the
final health reform bill.”

Meanwhile the Marcia D. Greenberger, co-president of the National
Women’s Law Center
issued this statement.

The Senate bill, while containing
some major advances for women, falls short of what’s needed to truly protect
women’s health.

She concludes:

While the manager’s amendment marks
an important step toward the historic passage of health care reform
legislation, the final conference report must be strengthened. NWLC will not
rest until health care reform finally works for women and their families.

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  • noworsethanusual

    Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Ca.) comments on the Senate abortion language: "When you have both extremes saying they’re unhappy, I think it’s a fair compromise. Because we have this compromise that’s being attacked on either side, I think that gives us momentum going into the final conference." — New York Times, December 22, 2009

  • hekate

    Believing that abortion should be treated like every other medical procedure and the right of a woman is an "extreme"? Believing that women should be able to purchase health insurance that will provide her affordable abortion coverage is an "extreme"?


    She lost my vote.


    According to a compromise is "a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc., by reciprocal modification of demand"A "compromise" is an agreement two parties reach where both give in to reach an agreement. It’s not actually pissing off both sides. Because, Sen. Boxer, if you proposed that say, aborted fetuses get launched out of cannons at abortion doctors, both sides would be "unhappy" and thus that would be a "fair compromise".


    You see, you can’t compromise with a group of people who believe that women have the right to bodily autonomy or a group of people who believe that abortions murder babies and women should be hostage to said babies. Because in the eyes of one group of people, it is a woman’s right to choose, and in the eyes of another group of people, women who seek abortions are irresponsible and murdering babies. Since pro-choice actually is the middle ground (seeing as how it is an emphasis on choice and the availability of said choice rather than forcing women to have abortions) to compromise between the pro-choice and anti-choice crowd is giving into one side more than the other side.Politicians need to get a grip and realize compromises will deprive women’s rights will slowly giving more and more ground to the anti-choice extreme. "Pro-choice" is not an extreme because it does not mandate women be forced into abortion. "Pro-life" is an extreme because it forces women to either abstain from sex until they want children, assuming they want children at all, while forcing them to carry to term a pregnancy they don’t want.