* Mr. POLIS. Madam Speaker, I would like to express my strong opposition to the Stupak/Pitts Amendment, which unfortunately passed the House by a vote of 240-194. This amendment places a woman's right to choose at risk, for it would place new obstacles in the way of women seeking reproductive health care services. The Stupak Amendment goes further than existing laws. This amendment dictates which medical procedures are offered in the private market.
* Health care reform is supposed to increase coverage. This amendment singles out women and reduces their coverage. Women's access to comprehensive reproductive health services is not just about equality between men and women but also equality along economic lines. This amendment sets up a system where only wealthier women could afford a safe abortion. It would prohibit low-income women who receive affordability tax credits from purchasing a private insurance plan that covers abortion, despite the fact that over 80 percent of health insurance plans currently cover abortion. In other words, a woman who happens to be low-income will be denied the right to purchase a health care plan with abortion coverage simply because she qualifies for affordability tax credits. This is discriminatory, plain and simple.
* Besides purchasing insurance in the exchange, the primary alternative for low-income individuals is the public option. Not only does this amendment prohibit access to abortion coverage if a low-income woman receives affordability tax credits in the exchange, but this amendment also prohibits the public option from providing abortion care, despite the fact that it would be funded through private premium dollars.
* Under the Stupak Amendment, low-income women who either receive affordability tax credits or purchase insurance through the public option have to purchase a separate, single-service ``abortion rider'' policy. Not only does this idea discriminate against low-income women but it makes no sense either. Women who end up in the tough position of having to seek an abortion never planned on being in that situation. The vast majority of women will not choose to purchase an ``abortion rider'' policy because they do not plan on ever having an abortion, and when the day arises when they may need abortion coverage, unfortunately it will not be there for them.
* The women of America should have access to their fundamental right to choose, regardless of their income level. I urge my colleagues to join me today in defense of that fundamental right.