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Pro-Choice Caucus: Bill Contains ‘Unprecedented’ Attack on Abortion Rights

Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., and Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., co-chairs of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, today released the text of a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi that they are circulating on the abortion provision in the health care bill.

USA TODAY’s John Fritze says the House bill would prohibit people who receive government subsidies from getting insurance coverage for an abortion procedure even through a private health insurance plan. It also would prohibit the government-run insurance plan from offering abortions.

That’s more restrictive than the Senate Finance Committee bill, which would require private insurance companies operating in the exchange to segregate subsidies money and only pay for abortions with private funds.

The letter now circulating has been signed by more than 40 House members so far. It calls the abortion language an “unprecedented and unacceptable restriction on women’s ability to access the full range of reproductive health services to which they are lawfully entitled.” Those who signed it say they will not vote for the final health care bill unless that language is removed.

The abortion controversy has frequently flared up, but Pelosi’s decision to allow an abortion amendment to the health care bill on Saturday has generated a lot of heat and nobody, even Pelosi, believes it will stay as is. She said after the vote that she will “continue to seek common ground” on the final language.

© 2009 USA Today

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