Last month, 19 anti-choice House Democrats sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi opposing any health care reform that includes funding for abortion. Among the congress members signing the letter were Pennsylvania Representatives John Murtha, Kathleen Dahlkemper, Tim Holden and Paul Kanjorski.
Contrary to the anti-choice sentiments expressed by these representatives, new research by the National Women’s Law Center shows that most Americans support reproductive health care coverage (including abortion coverage) as a part of broader health care reform.
Voters overwhelmingly support the broad outlines of reform and requiring coverage of women’s reproductive health services. Seven-in-ten (70%) favor a proposal that establishes a National Health Insurance Exchange with a public plan option. If the reform were adopted, voters overwhelmingly support requiring health plans to cover women’s reproductive health services (71% favor-21% oppose).
Absent coverage for women’s reproductive health services, majorities oppose reform. If reform eliminated current insurance coverage of reproductive health services such as birth control or abortion, nearly two-thirds (60%) would oppose the plan and nearly half (47%) would oppose it strongly.
Even in the face of opposition arguments, majorities support requiring coverage of abortions under reform. After hearing strong arguments both for and against covering abortion under reform, two-thirds (66%) support coverage, agreeing that health care, not politics, should drive coverage decisions. A majority of voters (72%) reported that they would feel angry if Congress mandated by law that abortion would not be covered under a national health care plan.
Additionally, the research also found that a majority of Americans (75%) were in favor of an independent commission, not politicians, making decisions about what sorts of services, including abortion, should be covered under reform. With the many debates and discussions about health care reform to take place in the coming months, it is imperative that representatives listen to what the majority of voters want and realize the importance of comprehensive reproductive health care in any reform plans.