This weekend the Senate yielded to anti-choice Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson’s demands for tighter restrictions on health insurance coverage for abortion care. The Senate health care bill, which passed a procedural hurdle by a vote of 60-40 early this morning, allows states to prohibit abortion coverage in health insurance exchanges and establishes elaborate bureaucratic procedures for insurance companies in the exchange that do offer abortion coverage.
NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Nancy Keenan said of the Senate health care bill, “the language regarding abortion coverage comes at too high a price for reproductive health. Thus, we must oppose this new Nelson language. And NARAL Pro-Choice America withholds support from the overall health-reform legislation until we assess the totality of provisions in the final bill that comes out of a conference committee between the House and Senate.
The Nelson compromise has been heavily criticized by both pro-choice and anti-choice groups.
PubliCola’s Erica C. Barnett outlines the disastrous effects the Nelson compromise will have on women’s access to abortion care.
RH Reality Check’s Jodi Jacobson elaborates on the implications of the Nelson compromise.
PubliCola devotes this morning’s “Morning Fizz” column to commentary on the Nelson compromise.
Rep. Bart Stupak, of the abortion coverage ban in the House health care bill, calls the Nelson compromise “unacceptable.”
Writing on the Huffington Post, Wendy Button argues that the Nelson compromise in the Senate health care bill relegates women to second class citizens. She asks if there is a member of the Senate who will stand up for women the way that Sens. Nelson and Joe Lieberman blocked reform until they got their way.
The AP reports on the extent to which Sen. Nelson has been lobbied by anti-choice groups in his home state of Nebraska.
Despite holding firm on more restrictive abortion language, Sen. Nelson is coming under fire from conservatives in Nebraska who wanted him to reject the entire bill. Sen. Nelson and Nebraska’s governor have also exchanged words over whether or not the state should accept the perks Nelson negotiated for the state.
Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon is speaking out against the ban on abortion coverage.
The Senate is now on track to pass its health care bill by Christmas. The next step will be for a conference committee to iron out the considerable differences between the House and Senate bills.
The AP reports that the battle over health care reform and abortion coverage has brought younger women into the reproductive rights movement.
A U.S. Army general in northern Iraq has announced that female soldiers under his command may be court-martialed if they become pregnant.
The New York Times editorializes in support of the elimination of funding for abstinence-only sex education programs from the 2010 omnibus spending bill, and urges Democratic leaders to remove a provision in the health care bill that came out of the Senate Finance Committee that would revive a separate $50 million grant-making program for abstinence-only programs run by states.
The Seattle Times editorial board praises a city program that provides safe haven to teen prostitutes, and solicits funds from readers to keep it going.