Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson introduced his anti-abortion bill Monday afternoon and, as promised, it is a carbon copy of the House's Stupak-Pitts amendment. It restricts abortion coverage in the public option as well as by insurance companies that receive any federal subsidies -- even if government funding is carefully segregated. Predictably, this clone amendment is garnering an identical response from pro-choice groups.
In a press release, the Center for Reproductive Rights called it "a full-scale attack that would dramatically worsen the current state of affairs and prohibit women from using their own money to buy abortion coverage." Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards said it "violates the spirit of health care reform by effectively prohibiting women from using their own money to buy private health insurance that includes comprehensive reproductive health care benefits." She added: "Health care reform is meant to guarantee quality, affordable health care coverage for all, not take benefits away from American women." What's more, a Planned Parenthood press release offers a reminder that the restrictions could all but eliminate abortion coverage options in the new health insurance exchange.