Politico: Politics trumps policy in health debate

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By: Patrick O\'Connor and Carrie Budoff Brown
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"In his speech to Congress, Obama said \'no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions,\' sparking another round of head-scratching about whether the legislation will actually allow federal funding for abortion.

Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) tried to craft an amendment in the House Energy and Commerce Committee that would allow lawmakers to keep the current ban in place without reigniting a bitter fight over abortion rights.

The current law bans federal funds from being spent on abortions, but under the Capps amendment, private insurers that already provide coverage for abortion would still be allowed to offer those services. Her amendment requires every exchange to include at least one plan that offers abortion coverage and at least one that does not.

Reproductive rights groups are fighting hard to at least preserve the Capps amendment.

\'At a very minimum, there should not be backsliding for American women for their access to abortion," said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, who wants the Senate to match the language in the Capps amendement.

On the president's speech last week: "The rhetoric has been unhelpful.\'"

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