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Abortion Issues Complicate Health Care Reform Effort

August 10, 2009

RICHMOND, Va. - Meeting with Virginians across the state, federal lawmakers are answering questions in person, attempting to separate lies from truth in the battle over health care changes. One charge is that under current proposals, taxpayer funds will be used to provide abortions.

Laurie Rubiner, vice president of public policy and advocacy with Planned Parenthood, says the abortion rhetoric detracts from the main goal of reform: providing coverage for everyone. She dismisses talk of any abortion mandate.

"Nothing could be further from the truth. There is nothing in any of the health care bills that even references abortion, or, for that matter, any other specific medical procedure."

Rubiner says there are currently 47 million Americans who lack health insurance. According to federal statistics, last year 11 percent of all Virginians say they declined to see a doctor because they feared they could not afford it. Those opposing the reforms say the plan would drive up taxes and diminish care.

Planned Parenthood has a straightforward health care reform goal, Rubiner says.

"Our message all along has been very simple: Women cannot be worse off under health care reform than they are today."

Lawmakers will be hearing constituents' opinions on health care reform during the August recess. To learn the location of the nearest town hall meeting, anyone wishing to speak should contact their elected representatives.

More information is available at www.plannedparenthoodaction.org.


Aries Keck, Public News Service - VA