President Obama on Covering Abortion Care in Public Health Plan

During an interview with Katie Couric on CBS Evening News, President Obama addressed concerns about his plan for health care reform and providing an option for a government-run health insurance plan. We have previously blogged about some legislators’ reluctance to include abortion care in a public plan, despite public opinion favoring it.

In the interview, Ms. Couric asked the president if he would support a government option that covered abortion. This was his response:

What I think is important, at this stage, is not trying to micromanage what benefits are covered. Because I think we’re still trying to get a framework. And my main focus is making sure that people have the options of high quality care at the lowest possible price.

As you know, I’m pro choice. But I think we also have a tradition of, in this town, historically, of not financing abortions as part of government funded health care. Rather than wade into that issue at this point, I think that it’s appropriate for us to figure out how to just deliver on the cost savings, and not get distracted by the abortion debate at this station.

The Hyde amendment has ensured that federal money hasn’t funded abortion care for low-income women (except in the cases of rape, incest or life endangerment, but not health endangerment) since 1976. This is a “tradition” that must end.

A new health plan must provide full coverage for women throughout their life cycle.  Safe abortion services have always been available to women who can afford to pay for them; poor women should not be denied the same.

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The Women's Law Project creates a more just and equitable society by advancing the rights and status of all women throughout their lives. To this end, we engage in high-impact litigation, advocacy, and education.
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