UPDATED: House Democrats are laying down the gauntlet on abortion rights (emphasis in original):
A source sends over a working copy of the letter without the signatories, and the source says it currently bears the signatures of 41 House Dems. They’re all vowing to vote No on a bill if it contains the Stupak amendment — enough to sink the bill:
As Members of Congress we believe that women should have access to a full range of reproductive health care. Health care reform must not be misused as an opportunity to restrict women’s access to reproductive health services.
The Stupak-Pitts amendment to H.R. 3962, The Affordable Healthcare for America Act, represents an unprecedented and unacceptable restriction on women’s ability to access the full range of reproductive health services to which they are lawfully entitled. We will not vote for a conference report that contains language that restricts women’s right to choose any further than current law.
That’s unequivocal, with no wiggle room. The Washington Post reported this morning that Rep. Diana DeGette had collected 40 signatures vowing a No vote, without noting the language of their vow or how this would be communicated.
In a separate post, Greg Sargent points to this statement by Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz:
I am confident that when [the bill] comes back from the conference committee, that that language won’t be there, and I think we’re going to be all be working very hard — particularly the pro-choice members — to make sure that that’s the case.
TheHill.com has some interesting details about the Amendment:
Stupak’s language not only prohibits abortion coverage in the public insurance option included in the House bill. It would also prevent private plans from offering coverage for abortion services if they accept people who are receiving government subsidies.
Put another way, no private insurance plan will be allowed to provide coverage for abortion if anyone — even people who are not the same people who want the abortion services — who receives government subsidies is enrolled in that plan.
If that is what the Amendment’s language means, it seems that conservative Democrats and Republicans are willing to tell private industry how to run their businesses when it suits their ideological leanings.
UPDATE: Jessica Arons has an excellent piece at The Huffington Post explaining in detail why the Stupak Amendment is such a disaster for women’s reproductive rights. Snips from the first two below (emphasis in original):