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BTL:Abortion Restrictions in Health Care Reform Bills Could Derail Passage
by Distributed by Squeaky Wheel Productions http Saturday, Jan. 02, 2010 at 4:38 AM
betweenthelines@snet.net (email address validated) BETWEEN THE LINES c/o WPKN Radio 89.5 FM Bridgeport, Connecticut

BETWEEN THE LINES Syndicated Radio Newsmagazine

Abortion Restrictions in Health Care Reform Bills Could Derail Passage

Interview with Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organization for Women

When the U.S. Senate passed their version of health care reform on Christmas Eve, President Obama and the Democratic Party leadership hailed the vote as historic, moving the nation closer to providing medical coverage to millions of Americans currently without health insurance. But as the House and Senate now prepare to negotiate a merger of their two bills into one for a final vote, many progressive health care activists are angry that the Senate legislation was considerably weakened by excluding a public government-run health insurance option and other reforms that were part of the House bill.

But another major obstacle to final passage of health care reform are provisions in both the House and Senate bills that restrict a woman's right to abortion. The Stupak - Pitts Amendment in the House bill prevents anyone who receives public subsidies from purchasing a health insurance plan that covers abortion. In the Senate, Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska tried, but failed to win support for the Stupak - Pitts language, but after threatening to join Republicans in a filibuster, Nelson succeeded in forcing inclusion of anti-abortion provisions.

Nelson's amendment allows states the option of prohibiting abortion coverage in exchange plans and mandates that insurance companies create two different systems if they provide women comprehensive coverage. Individuals who choose a health plan that includes abortion would be forced to write two separate checks, one for abortion care and one for everything else.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, who explains why many pro-choice groups like hers will oppose passage of any health care reform legislation that includes restrictions on women's rights.

For more information on the group's campaign to oppose abortion restrictions within health care reform, contact NOW at (202) 628-8669 or visit their website at http://www.now.org

Related Links:

* "Under Obama, Abortion Rights Advocates Try To Build Steam," http://www.nationaljournal.com, Dec. 29, 2009 * "Separate Checks, Separate 'Equality': Women Are Second-Class Citizens in Abortion Compromise,"http://www.buzzflash.com, Dec. 28, 2009 * "'Pro-Choice' Rosa DeLauro Slaps Lipstick on Nelson's Anti-Abortion Pig,"http://www.firedoglake.com, Dec. 29, 2009

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"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit: http://www.btlonline.org
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