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Does House healthcare bill end abortion coverage?

November 9, 2009 |  8:54 am

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a great vote counter. 

As the healthcare vote on Saturday night demonstrated, she knew just how many votes she had to turn to win the bill. And she did it by allowing lawmakers from swing-state districts -- many with strong Catholic constituencies -- to first vote against insurance funding for abortion. 

Abortion foes hailed the move as what was called "a nail in the eventual coffin of Roe v. Wade."

Now, as the bill moves to the Senate, pro-abortion groups are mobilizing for a fight.

"It is unconscionable that anti-choice lawmakers would use health reform to attack women's health and privacy, but that's exactly what happened on the House floor," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. "The fight is not over. ... We will continue to mobilize our activists and work with our allies in Congress to remove this dangerous provision from the healthcare bill and stop additional attacks as the process moves to the Senate."

Added Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, "Women do not plan to have unintended pregnancies. ... Proposing a separate abortion rider or single-service plan is tantamount to banning abortion coverage since no insurance company would offer such a policy."

New York Democrat Anthony Weiner said this morning that the House bill, in effect, leaves women without protection. Even if someone wants to purchase her own policy that covers abortion, he said, she might have trouble finding an insurance company to offer it. Take a listen.

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-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer leave a Democratic caucus where President Obama spoke in advance of the House vote on healthcare reform. Credit: Getty Images

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