New Health Care Legislation Includes Troubling Setbacks For Reproductive Rights

WASHINGTON—(ENEWSPF)–March 23 – The landmark health care legislation signed by President Obama today includes troubling setbacks for women’s reproductive rights, said the American Civil Liberties Union.

While the bill signed by the president today contains positive changes to health care policies that discriminate against women and provides women with access to needed and often life-saving health care services, it also restricts abortion coverage, creating hurdles for both the insurer that wants to include abortion care in its health plan and the insured who wants the coverage. The president, in a move meant to garner the votes of Democrats who oppose abortion rights, also signed an Executive Order today to ensure that current law prohibiting public funding of abortion also applied to any subsidies used to purchase insurance in the exchange.

Today’s law also revives federal funding for an abstinence-only-until-marriage program that Congress correctly allowed to expire in 2008. The ACLU has long opposed abstinence-only programs on the grounds that they censor vital health information, promote gender stereotypes, discriminate against gays and lesbians and sometimes use federal dollars to promote one religious perspective.

The following can be attributed to Laura Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

“Unfortunately, health care reform came at a very high price for women’s right to reproductive health care. Providing health care to Americans should not come at the expense of limits on constitutionally protected access to abortion. Moreover, the law wastes millions of dollars by raising from the dead a failed sexual education program – abstinence-only-until-marriage – that thwarts healthy, more effective and life-saving education that is greatly needed by our young people.

“The ACLU looks forward to working with the president and Congress to amend these troubling provisions and ensure that every woman retains the ability to access truly comprehensive health care.”