* Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Speaker, I come to the floor today to oppose the amendment offered by my colleague, Representative Bart Stupak. I know that he is following his own conscience, but I want to preserve the right of women nationwide to follow their conscience as well. I support a woman's right to be either for or against abortion. The decision is a private one and it is a matter of faith as well as a matter of conscience, and it is supported by our Constitution.
* This amendment is not about federal funding for abortion ..... the current version of the bill and federal law, the Hyde Amendment, already prohibit spending tax dollars to finance abortions. This amendment goes beyond that language. It prohibits private health insurance plans that receive even one dollar of federal funding to offer abortion services to any of their customers. This eliminates coverage for an important health service that millions of women currently have. This amendment leaves women even worse off than they are now. I cannot support such all-encompassing language.
* There is a certain irony here that demonstrates how prejudiced this amendment is toward women. Insurance plans would allow a man to obtain Viagra and cause an unwanted pregnancy, but it penalizes women for becoming pregnant.
* Insurance is intended to cover the unexpected. Yet, this amendment would deny women the right to purchase their own coverage as part of a regular insurance plan. It will heap an ugly punishment upon those who often times can least afford it, and it will push women into the past of back-alley butchers.
* Today women are entitled under the law to a safe abortion. It is estimated that in California before the Roe v. Wade decision, about 100,000 illegal abortions were performed each year. Abortion was the most common single cause of maternal deaths in California prior to 1973. We should not turn back the clock. As we work to provide universal health for all our citizens, women should be protected. This amendment does nothing to advance this and I ask my colleagues to defeat it.