This January, SFR reported
on a rally for abortion rights. Pro-choice groups worried that with a federal health care bill could come a rollback in women's right and access to abortion and reproductive health care
—a possibility that seems to become more likely by the hour.
Yesterday, Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., of the now-infamous Stupak Amendment to forbid federal funding for all insurance plans that allow abortion, said he and 11 other Dems won't vote for health care unless the Senate bill is equally restrictive.
"We're not going to vote for this bill with that kind of language,"
today on Good Morning America. (He's referring to what he calls the Senate bill's direct subsidies of abortion.)
Abortion rights activists' complaints about the Stupak Amendment center around its ability to reduce access to abortion and other reproductive health care. If insurance companies that offer abortion services are blocked from receiving federal funding, pro-choicers worry they'll either stop offering abortion or establish a separate plan for it—something Janet Gotkin of the National Organization for Women's Santa Fe chapter says would be an "administrative nightmare." (And besides, who plans
to have an abortion?)
The White House has promised
not to change the status of abortion rights—precisely what appears to be Stupak's complaint. (New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall stated his support for Obama's health care plan yesterday
.) Gotkin says even the Senate bill is restrictive and calls health care reform in its current state "a train wreck for women."
"The most horrifying thing about this is that the question of pushing women's access to reproductive health services and abortion has literally been pushed back 30 years," Gotkin says.
There's a bright side for New Mexico, Gotkin notes, which is among 17 states that offer Medicaid funding for abortion. Gotkin says there may even be sufficient statewide support to somehow nullify restrictive abortion language.
Even so, "Women will be losing [insurance] coverage—that's the issue we should be talking about," Gotkin says. "This is a disaster for women, and it just fell off the radar."
Gotkin says NOW will be working with other local organizations to bring abortion rights back on the radar. In the meantime, here's a handy link
for contacting your US Senators/Reps.