Pro-lifers praise, pro-choicers condemn Stupak amendment

The nation's leading pro-choice and pro-life groups are squaring off over the passage of an anti-abortion amendment in last night's healthcare bill.

Proposed by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), the amendment would prevent any plans in the proposed health insurance exchange from receiving federal subsidies if they cover abortion.

Here are some selected reactions:

National Right to Life says the amendment is a blow to the Obama administratino's "pro-abortion smuggling operation":

"The Obama White House and top congressional Democratic leaders spent months concealing and misrepresenting provisions that would directly fund abortions through a government plan, and subsidize premiums for private abortion plans.  Today's bipartisan House vote is a sharp blow to the White House's pro-abortion smuggling operation.  But we know that the White House and pro-abortion congressional Democratic leaders will keep trying to enact government funding of abortion, and will keep trying to conceal their true intentions, so there is a long battle ahead."

Planned Parenthood condemns:

“Planned Parenthood condemns the adoption of the Stupak/Pitts amendment in HR 3962 this evening. This amendment is an unacceptable addition to the health care reform bill that, if enacted, would result in women losing health benefits they have today. Simply put, the Stupak/Pitts amendment would restrict women’s access to abortion coverage in the private health insurance market, undermining the ability of women to purchase private health plans that cover abortion, even if they pay for most of the premiums with their own money. This amendment reaches much further than the Hyde Amendment, which has prohibited public funding of abortion in most instances since 1977.  

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“The Stupak/Pitts amendment violates the spirit of health care reform, which is meant to guarantee quality, affordable health care coverage for all. In fact, this amendment would create a two-tiered system that would punish women, particularly those with low and middle incomes, the very people this bill is intended to assist. The majority of private health insurance plans currently offer abortion coverage, and the Stupak/Pitts amendment would result in the elimination of private abortion coverage in the ‘exchange,’ the new insurance market created under health care reform, as well as in the public option, if one is created.

Family Research Council praises the Stupak amendment but blasts the larger bill:

"This is a huge pro-life victory for women, their unborn children, and families. We applaud this House vote which prohibits the abortion industry from further profiting from taxpayers by using government funds to pay for the gruesome act of abortion. I congratulate the bipartisan coalition that for months has worked to ensure that abortion is not covered in the bill. 

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"Unfortunately, H.R. 3962 is a seriously flawed piece of legislation. The Speaker's bill still allows rationing of health care for seniors, raises health costs for families, mandates that families purchase under threat of fines and penalties, encourages counseling for assisted suicide in some states, does not offer broad conscience protections for health care workers and seeks to insert the federal government into all aspects of citizen's lives. Speaker Pelosi is using the guise of health care reform to push her version of social engineering onto American taxpayers. Additionally, the legislation would place a crushing debt on both current and future generations.

Center for Reproductive Rights calls it an "assault on women's health and rights":

“Tonight’s vote in the House is a stunning assault on women’s health and rights. In a matter of hours, our elected officials have fallen hook, line and sinker for the anti-choice position, dispensing with a credible compromise on abortion and adopting a bill that would leave millions of women worse off than they already are today.

“American women demand that members of the Senate refuse the political bait which sullied the House vote and protect women’s health. Health care reform is supposed to provide affordable health care coverage to all Americans. Yet for women, this legislation gives with one hand and takes away with the other, forcing millions to buy insurance that does not meet all of their medical needs.”

The Susan B. Anthony List urges the Senate to follow suit:

“Tonight the House of Representatives made a principled and politically sound decision to continue our nation’s longstanding policy of protecting taxpayers’ conscience in the area of abortion funding.   We urge the Senate to follow suit.  We will remain vigilant, and shift our efforts to the Senate to ensure that these same pro-life protections are added to the Senate bill.