His Stupak-Pitts amendment to the health insurance reform bill was taken out of the final health care bill before it was passed in March. It was replaced by the Obama-Stupak Executive Order. This Executive Order expands the misogynistic Hyde amendment to any health insurance plan that is included in any of the health exchange programs. This expansion effectively denies reproductive health care coverage to women. This will happen as soon as insurance companies decide to drop all plans that cover abortions and reproductive health care that the right wing believes leads to abortion (e.g., emergency contraction and birth control).
But this wasn't enough for Joe Pitts. As the Lancaster Intelligencer states at Lancaster Online about Pitts, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.". On Thursday, April 22, Joe Pitts introduced the "Protect Life Act." The measure has 50 cosponsors, 32 of whom are Republicans. This bill would turn the Hyde amendment into permanent law by permanently banning the use of any federal funds (like Medicaid) for abortions. But it goes far beyond that. It makes it illegal for individuals and companies who purchase health insurance through the exchanges from including abortion coverage in their basic plan. And coverage for abortions under the this law would only be allowed if the woman is in imminent danger of death or in the cases of rape or incest. This is what the exception says,
except in the case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, or unless the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.This bill also creates a one-way conscience clause that allows individuals and hospitals and any other health care provider to deny services with impunity to women when they refuse to participate in what they believe to be an abortion service. It does not in contrast provide protections for individuals who believe that full reproductive health care is the gold standard of care.
This is Pitts third attempt to throw women under the bus. The first was in 1988/1989 when he successfully helped steer revisions to Pennsylvania's Abortion Control Act through the state House of Representatives; he highlights this on his official Congressional website, stating,
[Pitts]was a key player behind the 1990 [sic] Abortion Control Act.The second was his failed Stupak-Pitts amendment last November. And now this attempt. Let's throw this bill -- rather than women -- under the bus. Tell your legislators to kill the bill in committee. It's currently in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; let it stay their permanently.
And while we are at it, let's tell Pitts "NO" one more time and vote him out of office in November. We need a Representative who says "YES" to women. We need Lois Herr for the PA 16th Congressional District.