Get Ready! Senate Abortion Ban Vote May be this Weekend
Representative Donna Edwards (D-Md) thanking activists at the National Lobby Day event in Washington D.C.
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Take Action -- Please call AND email your senators one more time to tell them that they must vote against the latest abortion ban amendment that is likely to be offered (by Sens. Ben Nelson and Orrin Hatch) this weekend in the Senate.
Lobby Day Turnout Great: THANK YOU so much for all your help in our effort to stop a Stupak-like amendment in its tracks. But one could be on the Senate's agenda as early as this Saturday, Dec. 5. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is keeping the Senate at work through the weekend to expedite votes on health care reform legislation.
NOW activists and our coalition partners have gone all out on this issue: we've heard from thousands of our supporters and a whopping 1,300 activists showed up in Washington, D.C., for Wednesday's highly successful Lobby Day and Rally. We met with senators and representatives to let them know we oppose any restrictive abortion provisions in health care reform legislation. NOW activists asked members to vote against the final bill if it contains restrictive abortion language. We are sure that our meetings strengthened the resolve of abortion rights supporters in Congress to stop Stupak, but the vote in the Senate could be very close.
Stupak-Pitts All Over Again: An amendment similar to the House-passed Stupak-Pitts Amendment will be offered by Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). Sen. Nelson has also said that he would not vote for the entire bill if it lacked restrictive abortion provisions. While the exact language of the Nelson-Hatch Amendment wasn't available early Friday, we know that Nelson has vowed to offer a provision as close as possible to Stupak-Pitts.
Millions of Women Denied Coverage: The Nelson-Hatch Amendment would likely prohibit insurance companies from offering abortion coverage in any plan sold through the health insurance exchanges if there are any persons in that plan who receive subsidies from the government to pay for coverage. Because millions of low- and moderate-income persons previously uninsured or underinsured would be seeking insurance through these exchanges and likely receiving the government affordability credits, the abortion coverage ban could be extended to millions of women. It could also affect insurance coverage for the millions of self-employed women, as well as women who have purchased expensive insurance plans in the individual market who will seek less expensive policies through these exchanges.
We need you to not only take action now, but to call your friends and family, activate your email lists and alert other reproductive justice supporters and progressive allies in your area. We need to have tens of thousands of messages generated to Congress over the next few days. So please call your senators using our link for direct number phone numbers to their Washington offices AND send an email today. We hear that the abortion rights opponents are inundating members' offices with calls -- we've got to outdo them!