Senate amendment would endanger women's right to choose

Friday, November 13, 2009

As an obstetrician/gynecologist, I wanted to celebrate when the House passed the health-reform bill. Instead, I was horrified by how, at the last minute, it punished pregnant women ["Abortion an obstacle to health-care bill," news story, Nov. 9].

The Stupak-Pitts amendment treats the 1.2 million women in the United States who have abortions each year as pariahs who don't deserve affordable medical care. My mind swims with memories of my patients and their deeply considered reasons for ending their pregnancies. Many of them already had children they were struggling to care for -- in fact, 61 percent of women who have abortions have at least one child.

Abortion is a safe, legal medical procedure. It seems obvious that insurance policies that cover abortion should be available to every woman. But if the Stupak-Pitts amendment survives the Senate and the president's pen, the millions of women who need federal subsidies to afford insurance will have to buy policies that ignore them when they need help the most.

Sara Imershein, Washington

The writer is a fellow of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health.

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