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Congresswoman Chu Denounces Stupak Amendment, Urges Removal of Anti-Choice Elements from Health Care Reform Bill

December 2, 2009
Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Today Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) took part in a National Lobby Day rally organized by a broad coalition of progressive and women’s health advocacy groups called the Coalition to Pass Health Care Reform and Stop Stupak.  The purpose of the rally, held at the Dirksen Auditorium in Washington, is to ensure that health care reform is passed and does not restrict women’s ability to purchase private health insurance that provides comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion. Following is the text of Rep. Chu’s remarks during the rally.
“I will never forget the night of the healthcare vote on the house floor. I was so proud to be part of that historic vote. But there is also one moment that night that I’ll never forget.
“It was the moment that there was a vote on abortion in healthcare plans; I’ll never forget looking up at the vote board and seeing that our Democratic majority House of Representatives voted to implement the biggest rollback of women’s reproductive rights in decades. My heart sank.
“30 years ago, I got into the women’s movement because of reproductive rights. I could not believe that our laws would allow women to die in a back alley abortion with coat hangers rather than allow us the ability to make choices over our own bodies.
“The day that Roe v. Wade passed was one of the greatest advances for women this century. Today, we cannot  let anti-choice forces use healthcare reform to take women backwards.
“I know I’m committed; I am one of the 40 Congressmembers that signed the letter that said we will not vote for healthcare reform, unless women’s reproductive rights are fully respected in the final version of the bill.
“I urge Americans to tell their representatives to make no mistake; the Stupak-Pitts Amendment was not a compromise. Women will lose benefits; plans will not offer abortion coverage. Women will be forced to buy an extra rider for abortion; and what women plans to have an abortion?
“Tell them our healthcare battle is difficult enough with the distraction of an abortion debate. We must all focus on the fundamental issue, which is providing healthcare for all Americans.
“Tell your Senators to vote no on the Full Stupak and no on the Full Nelson. Tell your Senators to vote yes on women’s choice.”
The Coalition to Pass Health Care Reform and Stop Stupak is part of a wave of pro-choice activism sparked by the passage of the Stupak amendment last month. Since then, some members of the House who voted for the Stupak ban have expressed their doubts about this amendment.  Notably, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did not include the Stupak language in the health care reform bill he introduced on November 19, and President Obama has indicated that the amendment goes too far.
The Coalition includes the following groups:
Alliance for Justice
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP)
Black Women for Reproductive Justice (BWRJ)
Black Women’s Health Imperative
Catholics for Choice
Center for Community Change
Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)
Center for Reproductive Rights
Choice USA
Coalition of Labor Union Women
EMILY’s List
Feminist Majority Foundation
Latina Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition (LSRJC) Political Action
NARAL Pro-Choice America
NARAL Pro-Choice New York
National Abortion Federation (NAF)
National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF)
National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW)
National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA)
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund
National Institute for Reproductive Health
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH)
National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF)
National Organization for Women (NOW)
National Partnership for Women and Families
National Women’s Health Network (NWHN)
National Women’s Law Center (NWLC)
New Prospect Family and Worship Center, Washington, DC
No Limits
People for the American Way (PFAW)
Personal PAC
Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH)
Planned Parenthood
Raising Women's Voices (RWJ)
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC)
Religious Institute
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS)
SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations