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The Senate recess began Friday, and senators are heading back to their home districts with one thing on their minds: health care reform. I wish I could say it was now just a matter of time until we get a bill that strengthens coverage for the women, men, and families who need it most — but the truth is, our work is more critical than ever.
Of course, Congress has made progress on health care reform legislation — and when it comes to the early drafts of the bill, I'm happy to say: so far, so good. All versions of the health care reform bill would expand coverage, protect women's access to , and allow women to continue to see the they know and trust (like Planned Parenthood). That is the good news. Now for the bad.
Anti-choice groups have geared up for an all-out assault on women's health care. They're using the reform negotiations to pursue their number one goal: preventing women from accessing comprehensive reproductive health care, from to abortion. And I'm sure it's not news to you that they're willing to use every dishonest attack and dirty trick they can to stand in the way of women's health.
Here are a few key facts you should know so the next time you're talking with friends, family, or co-workers about health care reform, you can set the record straight:
1. MYTH: Health care reform would result in the greatest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade. REALITY: Currently, the majority of plans already cover basic reproductive health care, including abortion care. In fact, more than 86 percent of employer-based insurance plans cover abortion care. That's why anti-choice groups are working so hard to strip reproductive health from health care reform — in order to strip women of coverage they currently have. 2. MYTH: Taxpayer money would be used to pay for abortions in the public plan. REALITY: Opponents of reproductive health care are trying to confuse people into thinking that the public plan is a government-funded health plan like Medicaid or Medicare — it is not. The public health insurance plan would operate like any private insurance plan would. It would be funded and paid for by private individual premiums, in the same way a private insurance plan is. Therefore, there is no reason to treat any coverage issue, including abortion coverage, differently in the public health insurance plan than in private plans. 3. MYTH: Health care reform will "mandate" abortion coverage. REALITY: Nothing in any of the current health care reform bills mandates abortion coverage — or any other type of health care service. Opponents of women's health and health care reform are trying to hijack health care reform to push for unprecedented prohibitions on abortion coverage in the private marketplace. Women in America have the most to gain and also the most to lose from health care reform. After all, women are the largest providers of health care, users of health care, and purchasers of health care, and women make the majority of the health care decisions for their families. And if our opponents have their way, women could be left worse off after health care reform, by losing access to health care and to their provider of choice.
Health care reform is an important goal — but it can't come at the expense of women's health. As the leading provider of contraception and other reproductive health care in America, Planned Parenthood will continue to stand up for the health of women and their families.
You can do your part to set the record straight on health care reform by writing a letter to the editor of your local paper, or simply by talking with friends, family, or co-workers. It's critical that we all set the record straight and educate others about women's health and community providers like Planned Parenthood.
Stay tuned for ways you can get involved online and in your local community — and, once again, thank you for standing with us at this crucial time for women's health.
Cecile Richards, President
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
The question is not whether Obama's plan will cover abortions, we all know it will one way or another, but will it cover the costs of garbage pickup for the babies born alive from botched abortions that are not allowed to recieve medical care and tossed in the trash. A policy he endorsed in ILL.