(House of Representatives - October 13, 2011)

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[Page H6859]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from 
Wisconsin (Ms. Moore) for 5 minutes.
  Ms. MOORE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to state my strident opposition 
to H.R. 358, proposed by our colleague, Representative Pitts, which we 
will be considering later on today.
  H.R. 358 includes several truly unprecedented restrictions on 
abortion coverages--coverages which, by the way, our Supreme Court has 
determined are rights of women. And it would limit access to abortion 
services for all women, regardless of their health status, economic 
circumstances, age, or any other considerations.
  This bill would also impose sweeping refusal provisions that not only 
undermine women's health care and women's rights, but actually endanger 
women's lives. It's not hyperbole to say that the provisions of the 
Pitts bill represent an extreme and callous attack on women's health.
  First, H.R. 358 would effectively end abortion coverage for women in 
State insurance exchanges, both for those who receive subsidies to buy 
coverage and for those who use their own private money to buy coverage. 
This would mean that millions of women--contrary to what we have 
promised them through the Affordable Care Act, that they would be able 
to keep coverage they currently have--would actually lose the coverage 
that they currently have. The Pitts bill represents an unparalleled 
restriction on the use of private funds and an insurmountable 
impediment for women who simply want to be able to choose a health plan 
that will cover all of their potential health needs.
  Second, H.R. 358 would codify and expand the vast refusal clause 
currently in law, the Weldon amendment, granting people with only a 
tangential connection to abortion services--such as receptionists who 
make appointments or claims adjustors at insurance companies--the right 
to refuse services to women who seek abortions. Not only that, but the 
Pitts bill would make it possible for States to pass a whole new slate 
of refusal laws that could allow insurers to opt out of covering not 
just abortion care, but birth control, screening, counseling for 
sexually transmitted diseases, mammograms, and much more.
  But the most shocking expansion of our refusal laws is the provision 
in H.R. 358 that would exempt hospitals from treating or referring 
women, in case of emergency abortion care, even if women will die 
without it. Hospitals would no longer be forbidden from abandoning 
patients on the doorstep of emergency rooms and providing treatment to 
at least stabilize the medical condition of such patients. This 
provision heartlessly puts the preferences of hospitals above the lives 
of women.
  And finally, Mr. Speaker, H.R. 358 even establishes restrictions on 
people's ability to get information about their coverage options. The 
Pitts bill would prevent the Federal Government, States, or any other 
entity implementing the Affordable Care Act from requiring access to 
abortion services. This means, for example, that people may not get 
impartial or even accurate information from the patient navigators who 
are designated to help them choose coverage.
  The advocates of Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin sent me a story that 
truly encapsulates the emotion, the real-life consequences of what 
we're talking about today. This is Judy's story, not a woman who wanted 
an abortion so that her bikini line would not be ruined, but a woman 
whose mother had died when she was 4 years old. She and her husband 
agonized about their decision, but her health was in jeopardy, and they 
knew that preserving her health and her life was the best choice for 
her family.

                              {time}  0950

  And she painfully, painfully, agonizingly decided to terminate her 
pregnancy to save her life and to preserve the quality of the life of 
the one child that she has so that she could rear him.
  To protect the right to safe, legal abortion care takes a serious 
commitment to Wisconsin's health, and it takes courage, Mr. Speaker. 
Politicians who want to end private health insurance coverage of 
abortion have neither of these qualities.