Stupak won’t hurt women? DON’T BELIEVE IT.

The Big Lie — Abortion Rights Opponents Mislead on Stupak-Pitts

We know our opponents lie and mislead the public. They are doing a lot of that right now in trying to counter factual information coming from NOW and our allies about abortion restrictions in House health care reform legislation (H.R. 3692). Their tactic is to assure the public that the Stupak-Pitts Amendment will not have much of an effect on anyone’s insurance coverage for abortion care. This, of course, is far from the truth and activists need to make sure that women know that Stupak-Pitts is a serious threat to abortion access.

A form letter sent by MINNESOTA’S VERY OWN Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) to a constituent implies that the Stupak-Pitts Amendment will not affect coverage that women pay for with private funds. The letter reads: “The Stupak-Pitts Amendment states that individuals buying insurance on the exchange may still purchase coverage that includes abortions as long as no federal money is used. It also says that insurers may still offer abortion coverage as long as such coverage, and the administrative structure behind it, is not supported by federal money….”

In fact, any and all health insurance plans offered through the newly created regional health exchanges will not be permitted to offer abortion coverage if there are any individuals in those plans who receive government “affordability credits.”

Some 36 million low- and moderate-income persons who currently are uninsured or underinsured will be seeking insurance through these exchanges — with many relying on government subsidies to help pay the premiums. Their huge presence will likely mean that nearly all insurance plans will serve people who receive government subsidies, meaning that they cannot offer abortion care coverage to any policyholders, even those who pay 100 percent of the premium with their own money.

Stupak-Pitts’ apologists say that each exchange will have at least one plan offering coverage. But the goal and the effect of this dangerous amendment is to dramatically restrict women’s access to abortion care. Abortion is one of the most common medical procedures and will be sought by a substantial number of women of child-bearing age. The Oberstar letter claims that those women who can’t obtain insurance coverage for abortion can buy a separate abortion rider. Please. How likely is that to happen? An independent check on the current availability of abortion riders in insurance found none.

The most likely scenario, should Stupak-Pitts become law, is that insurance companies would avoid the hassle of having audits of their plans and meeting other restrictive criteria by simply not offering coverage for abortion services altogether. A recently released study by the School of Public Health and Health Services at George Washington University concludes that insurance companies would have to re-design offerings in order to avoid violating abortion restrictions, and that would ultimately have a broad chilling effect, even for private, employer-based insurance.

Help spread the truth about the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, and call your senators right away to ensure that similar restrictions are not included in the Senate version of the health care reform bill. Senate contact information can be found online.

More information:

GW University Report (PDF)

The Real Victims of Stupak-Pitts


You’re following the drama surrounding federal health care reform, so you know about the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, what Rachel Maddow called the “biggest restriction on abortion access in this country in a generation.”  Our National NOW President Terry O’Neill told ABC News that “it’s not acceptable” to achieve health care reform “by pushing women back into the back alleys to die.”

Minnesota NOW, with leadership provided by our former chapter President and current National NOW Action Vice President Erin Matson, wants to coordinate Minnesota’s response.


Since 1971, Minnesota NOW members have been able to count on us to bring feminist issues to the legislature and the general public.  In the last two years alone we have:

  • Founded the MN CAFE (Minnesota Constitutional Amendment for Equality) Coalition to add and Equal Rights Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution
  • In 2009, hosted “Feminist Stimulus NOW,” examining how the Great Recession disproportionately affects women and a workshop on finance for women
  • Produced “V-Day Prior Lake 2008,” raising funds for the Southern Valley Alliance for Battered Women
  • Hosted our 2008 State Conference, “Women Immigrants: Then and NOW,” in Fergus Falls to discuss anti-immigrant bias in rural Minnesota communities


We want to do more….BUT WE CAN’T.

Without your immediate support Minnesota NOW will be forced to close its St. Paul office and lay off its sole employee, our Office Coordinator, who has run every aspect of MN NOW for the last 12 years (I may be President, but I’m definitely not the brains around here—Mary Ann is).

If Minnesota NOW disappears, who will speak the truth that reproductive freedom is a civil right?  Who will lobby the Legislature for constitutional gender equality?  Who will offer support to a diverse group of allies like the Minnesota Choice Coalition, Marry Me Minnesota (suing to win marriage equality for same-sex couples), the Women Candidate Development Coalition, and many others?

Or will people like Bart Stupak feel increasingly empowered to restrict women’s right to self-determination?  Will we lose the rights that generations upon generations of women fought like hell for?


You can contribute securely online when you go to and click on GIVE NOW.


Senators Franken & Klobuchar need to hear from you, NOW

Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Washington, DC Office: 1-888-224-9043

Minneapolis Office: 612-727-5220

Sen. Al Franken

Washington, DC Office: (202) 224-5641

St. Paul Office: (651) 221-1016


Here’s what you can say:

I’m a member of the Minnesota chapter of the National Organization for Women, and I’m calling on behalf of millions of women to let you know just how disgusted we by the health reform bill that passed the House.

The Stupak-Pitts Amendment was brought to the floor after a late-night, backroom deal with religious zealots, and as a result, women could be facing the most serious challenge ever to our constitutionally protected reproductive rights.

The Stupak-Pitts Amendment was unnecessary: The Hyde Amendment already ensures that no federal funds will be used to pay for abortion –regardless of whatever health care bill becomes law.

The Stupak-Pitts Amendment would, for the first time, make it difficult or impossible for women spending even 100% of their own money to cover abortion through private insurance plans … if they happen to have purchased insurance through a health insurance exchange.

This is unconscionable and I urge the Senator to take a strong stand against any similar measures. NOW will not support health reform that harms women. I will be watching your actions closely in the coming weeks.

Ask when your Senators will be in town, and request meetings with each of them. If you are unable to meet in person with a Senator, ask to meet with a staff person dealing with health insurance reform. Bring several NOW members with you if you can.

We must hold our elected officials accountable.  TAKE ACTION NOW!

Welcome to a new definition of Stupak….

…courtesy of Urban

A medical condition (subset of sepsis) resulting from unsafe -unnecessarily so – back alley abortions as a result of the “Stupak Amendment” to the 2009 Health Care Reform Bill.

Doctor: Unfortunately, while this would have been covered under private insurance carriers, public plans were barred from including women’s health measures. I’m sorry, you’ll have to see “Dr. Julio” in the alley behind 7-11.

(Three weeks later.)

Doctor: I believe you’ve developed Stupak, a form of sepsis, a severe illness in which the bloodstream is overwhelmed by bacteria.

Stay tuned for information about how YOU can take action to stop the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to the Health Care Reform Act.