Senate Leadership Should Stand Strong for Women In Negotiations to Move Forward on Healthcare Reform Bill

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(PRESS RELEASE) This weekend, the Senate leadership will likely move forward towards critical votes on healthcare reform, and negotiations with Sen. Ben Nelson (D.-NE) are reportedly ongoing over possible restrictions in the bill on coverage of abortion services. Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, issued this statement:

"The Center for Reproductive Rights calls on leadership and members of the U.S. Senate to stand strong against any further restrictions on women's reproductive healthcare.

"Many faith leaders in Nebraska, including Rep. Anthony Butler in an op-ed earlier this week, and others in the Omaha Herald only today, have expressed their desire to see the Senate move forward on this momentous bill to address access to healthcare coverage. As Rev. Butler pointed out, no single and narrow agenda should be permitted to hijack healthcare reform or its promise to expand coverage for millions of uninsured Americans.

"The Stupak-Pitts Amendment was originally sold to members of the House of Representatives as a benign extension of current law, yet as we have since seen, it is instead a radical extension of highly punitive anti-choice rules into the private insurance marketplace. Since the vote, many in the House have expressed buyer's remorse, and so Senate negotiators should not be haunted by the ghost of this misleading vote tally.

"As Congress stands on the brink of passage of this landmark reform, we urge members to remember the women whose healthcare remains in their hands, and to staunchly resist any further weakening of the provisions on abortion services coverage."