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Hearing of the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee - "H.R.__, the Protect Life Act of 2011"

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown

Mr. Chairman, I regret that this legislation is the subject of the first legislative hearing of the Subcommittee on Health.

With this hearing, and another held yesterday in the Judiciary Committee, Republicans begin their assault on women's reproductive health and their constitutional right to choose when to bear children.

The bill before us today is an attack on one of the most hard-fought but delicately balanced provisions of the Affordable Care Act -- those related to abortion.

Those provisions -- authored by Senator Nelson, whose pro-life record speaks for itself -- clearly and unequivocally:
prohibit the use of federal funds for abortion;
keep state and federal abortion-related law in place; and
ensure that those whose conscience dictates against abortion are protected and not discriminated against.

Mr. Pitts's legislation -- the subject of today's hearing -- goes far beyond this. By restricting insurance plans flexibility regarding abortion coverage, the Pitts bill will result in a virtual shut-down of private coverage of this service.
The bill also takes away the Affordable Care Act's limited anti-discrimination protection for those providers whose conscience dictates that women should have access to abortion -- a legal and medically appropriate service.

The bill also takes away the Affordable Care Act's limited anti-discrimination protection for those providers whose conscience dictates that women should have access to abortion -- a legal and medically appropriate service.

And, among its most disturbing provisions, the Pitts bill would upend the Affordable Care Act's requirement that health care providers remain obligated to provide emergency services as required under EMTALA.

Taken as a whole, the bill is nothing more than a full-throttled attack on abortion -- at worst, to take away a women's right to choose, or at best, to make it meaningless.

This legislation will not become law: It is not what the American people want. Mr. Pitts knows that. And this Committee knows that.

In my view, the abortion provisions included in the Affordable Care Act are far too restrictive. But I know first-hand how difficult this issue was in negotiating a final health reform package, and so I have been willing to stand by them.

But I do not want to turn the clock back any further.

Abortion should be treated as we treat any other legal, medically appropriate service. This should be the standard of review for this bill.


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