Congress introduces new legislation harmful to women’s healthcare

The priorities of the newly installed House leadership have emerged over the last week and a clear trend has emerged: Denial.

Deny women the right to choose health services that include abortion coverage provisions; deny rape victims’ consistent legal rights; deny insurance companies’ autonomy over their coverage plans; deny individuals and families access to tax benefits.

Introduction of anti-choice legislation is a guarantee in every Congress. But I was startled that on the heels of an election dominated by calls for deficit reduction and smaller government, Speaker Boehner would make it a priority to pass legislation that restricts women’s access to health services and challenges the understood definition of rape. H.R. 3 the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, introduced by Representative Chris Smith (NJ) and supported by 173 members of Congress (including many Freshman members), is mammoth anti-choice proposal that has been labeled an outright attack on women.

The virulent bill:

  • Redefines the rape exemption, limiting it to “forcible rape” only, and thereby denying abortion care, even life-saving abortions, to certain survivors of rape and incest, including women receiving Medicaid;
  • Makes permanent the Hyde Amendment, a dangerous restriction on abortion coverage targeting women who receive subsidized insurance;
  • Revives the Stupak amendment by attempting to shut down the private market for insurance coverage that includes abortion, even though the coverage is paid for with private funds;
  • Redefines “endangerment” to refer only to physical threats, marginalizing mental health issues and eliminating access to abortion funding for certain women including women receiving Medicaid; and
  • Increases taxes on millions of individuals and small businesses that choose to keep insurance plans that include abortion coverage.

The links below outline the perilous consequences for women and the implications for the private insurance market, if H.R. 3 is passed. A floor vote will happen quickly. Please share this information widely and encourage everyone to speak out-from the barista who makes your morning coffee to the parent in the next carpool lane.

Take action now through the JWI Action Center and tell your member of Congress to oppose the harmful Chris Smith bill (H.R. 3).

National Women’s Law Center – Oppose the Dangerous and Misleading “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act”

Stupak on Steroids,” The Hill, January 25, 2011

The Two Abortion Wars: A Highly Intrusive Federal Bill,” New York Times, January 29, 2011

The House GOP’s Plan to Redefine Rape,” Mother Jones, January 28, 2011

Dem calls GOP rape-redefining bill ‘a violent act against women’


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