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by Jollene Levid
Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009 at 3:08 PM
GABNet condemns the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to House Resolution 3277, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives this past Saturday, November 7th.
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GABNet condemns the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to House Resolution 3277, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives this past Saturday, November 7th. As a militant feminist, anti-imperialist women's organization, we believe that healthcare is a fundamental human right, but we decry the reformist tactics used by the House of Representatives to pass the national healthcare bill in exchange for right-wing anti-abortion langugage. Women's reproductive rights should not be a "trade-off" to pass healthcare reform!
The Stupak-Pitts Amendment would limit women's ability to access abortion coverage in the private insurance market, stripping women of their right to purchase an insurance plan that would cover abortion, despite women paying for their own premiums. This is a major set-back, as it takes the Hyde Amendment, restricting public funding of abortion since 1977, into the private insurance sphere.
The Stupak-Pitts Amendment punishes low and middle-income women - the very women who are said to benefit from healthcare reform. 45% of women are uninsured or underinsured, and over half of low-income women who make less than ,000 annually already spend 10% or more on out-of-pocket healthcare costs and premiums. The Stupak-Pitts Amendment would only raise the costs of healthcare for women as it requires women to purchase an additional, single-service rider for abortions. These plans are not even in existence, as women do not foresee unintended or medically complicated pregnancies. Furthermore, insurance companies, a capitalist private enterprise all its own and unregulated, would have no incentive to create such plans.
Women in the United States are already bearing the brunt of medical costs. Two-thirds report difficulty in paying medical debt or bills and 79% report not seeking medical treatment due to costs (Biennial Health Survey, 2007). Women disproportionately lack access to preventative care and the Stupak-Pitts Amendment will only aggravate this injustice.
GABNet urges women to contact their U.S. Senators to remove the Stupak-Pitts Amendment from the healthcare reform bill, which now sits in the Senate. It is despicable that the House representatives who overwhelmingly voted for the Stupak-Pitts Amendment were the same legislators who did not vote to pass the healthcare reform bill. GABNet does not join the House Democrats and President Obama in lauding this so-called healthcare reform victory. We recognize it for what it is: a trade-off of women's rights for watered-down healthcare reform.
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