(PRESS RELEASE) Today, the Center for Reproductive Rights called on the leadership in the House of Representatives to resist efforts by anti-choice lawmakers to extend the reach of federal funding restrictions on abortion as part of the final healthcare reform bill. Representative Brad Ellsworth (D-IN) released a statement yesterday pledging to withhold his support for the legislation unless the House Leadership allows for a vote on his anti-choice amendments. Nancy Northup, president of the Center, issued this statement in response:
"This is a do-or-die moment in the battle over abortion coverage. Either the House Leadership can cave to the demands of the anti-choice lobby — intent on exploiting the divisions over abortion within the Democratic Party — or take a principled stand against these political machinations. While anti-choice lawmakers opportunistically move to extend the already punishing federal funding for abortion restrictions into the private market, American women have given more than enough in the spirit of compromise. More deep slices from the half-a-loaf already given to American women would be intolerable.
"Abortion is a constitutionally protected medical procedure that one in three women will have in their lifetime. Yet the abortion-neutral language negotiated into both House and Senate bills amounts to a promise to women with a ‘no-guarantee\' clause. While an honest and credible attempt to defuse the debate over abortion, the compromise potentially leaves millions of women under the new system without even the option of abortion coverage.
"American women cannot afford to give any more ground on healthcare. And House Leadership cannot afford to renege on their responsibility to protect women's rights and health."