A month ago, I blogged about how many Latino congressional members voted to support the Stupak amendment in the health care bill, which bans abortion coverage from health insurance companies that receive federal subsidies. That amendment ended up passing, but a similar amendment in the Senate was defeated this week in large part to some aggressive lobbying by women’s groups and citizens concerned with preserving choice.
Democratic Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska had introduced an amendment into the Senate version of the health care bill that would ban insurance companies operating in proposed insurance exchanges from offering abortion coverage to anyone receiving a government subsidy. This move plainly would put poor women at a disadvantage, whereas privileged women have always had access to abortion even when it was illegal (because they can afford black market procedures or can travel elsewhere for the procedure). Many Senators offered convincing arguments about why Nelson’s amendment and threat to block the health care bill was not a good idea. I particularly liked what Senators Durbin and Menendez had to say though.
Durbin offered this:
“Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., argued that if Nelson opposes abortion he should reconsider his threat to block the overall health legislation because it would provide 17 million uninsured women of childbearing age access to birth control, counseling and other reproductive services that might prevent unwanted pregnancies.”
And Senator Menendez said the following:
Some of the Latino men of the House of Representatives should take a cue from Senator Menendez.