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NAPAWF, NLIRH, and RHTP Oppose the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act”

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Bill would severely limit access to important reproductive health services for women, particularly women of color and immigrant women

January 20, 2011 (Washington, DC) -- The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), and the Reproductive Health Technologies Project (RHTP) strongly oppose H.R.3 which was introduced in the House of Representatives today.  

This bill would strip a woman of her right to decide which options best suit her health care needs and would add cruel restrictions for victims of sexual violence. Access to abortion is critically important for women of color and immigrant women who are disproportionally poor. Presently, 25% of poor women who want to choose abortion can’t because the federal government refuses to pay for it.

The bill number indicates that it is the third-highest priority of the new House majority. NAPAWF, NLIRH, and RHTP are extremely disappointed that the new leadership is playing politics with women’s bodies instead of focusing on jobs and the economy.

In addition, under the new health care law, states will be in charge of their own health care exchanges, but this bill could disrupt those plans, and extinguish abortion services all together. Abortion is a legal and preventive procedure; a part of a women’s reproductive health options when she is pregnant.

Women of color are actively at the forefront of the movement for reproductive justice and are coming out of the shadows demanding fair and equal reproductive rights. In a California Survey, 65% of U.S.-born Latinos say that government should not interfere with our personal decisions about abortion.

The Smith Bill goes much further than current restrictions on public coverage of abortion services. If passed, the bill would undermine women’s access to reproductive health care in the following ways:

•    It would ban coverage of abortion in the new health-care system
•    It would impose tax penalties on individuals with private insurance plans that include abortion coverage in the following ways:
•    Denying tax credits to employers or other entities that pay for health plans that cover abortion
•    Denying tax credits to individuals or entities that pay for abortion care
•    Disallowing medical deductions for payments for any health plan that includes abortion coverage or for any medical expenses related to abortion care
•    Treating as income any amounts paid for an abortion from a tax-preferred trust or account, such as a health savings account
•    It would re-impose the ban on Washington, D.C.’s use of its own local funds for abortion for low-income women.
•    It would codify the ban on abortion care for women in the military, denying them access to abortion care at overseas military hospitals, even if they pay for the service with their own money.
•    It will severely limit the exceptions for when abortions can be provided.  The only exceptions are forcible rape, incest with a minor and when the woman's life will be endangered. These exceptions are too narrow to capture all the circumstances for when women would need medical assistance, especially since forcible rape would exclude statutory rape and incest with a minor excludes adult women who are victimized by a family member.

NAPAWF, NLIRH, and RHTP will continue to stand against legislation that attacks a woman's right to decide what is best for her health care needs. When we ban abortion coverage, we take away a woman’s options for care. However she buys her health insurance, every woman should be able to make the personal decisions she thinks is best for herself and her family. This bill is an affront to women across the country and amounts to political interference in a woman’s most personal, private medical decisions.