NEW YORK - Planned Parenthood strongly opposes H.R. 3, and is outraged that it was passed out of the House Rules Committee. H.R. 3 is a far-reaching, unprecedented bill that will undermine women’s health and raise taxes on small businesses and millions of women and men across the country. H.R. 3 is scheduled to be voted on in the House floor on May 4, 2011.
“H.R. 3 is a dangerous bill that goes far beyond any other proposal ever introduced in Congress to take comprehensive health care coverage away from women,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “The bill would also raise taxes on small businesses and individuals, as well as put at risk women who are pregnant and facing severe illness. Simply put, H.R. 3 is a far-reaching bill that is bad for America’s families, bad for the economy, and bad for small businesses.”
H.R. 3 has several provisions that undermine women’s health. First, H.R. 3 jeopardizes women’s health because it does not allow for any exceptions for abortions that are necessary because a woman faces severe and permanent health risks that could shorten her life due to conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, and cancer. For example, if a pregnant woman discovers she has cancer, and her doctor recommends, to preserve her health, that she start chemotherapy immediately, she will need to have an abortion. If H.R. 3 becomes law, her health insurance coverage would likely not cover this medically necessary abortion to protect her health.
Second, it would raise taxes on small businesses and individuals. Under H.R. 3, individuals may face higher taxes because they will not be able to claim existing tax deductions for medical expenses if that includes the cost of an abortion. Similarly, small businesses that offer their employees comprehensive health insurance coverage will also face tax penalties because they will no longer be able to claim existing tax credits. Ultimately, this will result in a tax increase for as many as four million small businesses as well as affecting millions of American women and families across the country.
In testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee on March 31, 2011, the Joint Committee on Taxation affirmed that H.R. 3 would result in higher taxes for small business and individuals.
Third, H.R. 3 seeks to impose the already-rejected abortion insurance coverage ban in the newly created health exchanges. H.R. 3 would prohibit Americans who purchase insurance in the new health exchanges from receiving federal tax credits if they choose a plan that includes coverage for abortion, even though they are also using their own private dollars in part to buy insurance coverage. The most likely result is that this would cause women to lose the comprehensive health insurance benefits they currently have.
“H.R. 3 is an aggressive attempt to take away the comprehensive private health insurance coverage that millions of women have today,” said Richards. “The likely outcome of H.R. 3 is the virtual elimination of private insurance coverage of abortion, resulting in millions of women losing the comprehensive private health insurance that they currently have.”
Abortion coverage in private health insurance is a common benefit. According to the Guttmacher Institute, “most Americans with employer-based insurance currently have coverage for abortion.”
“The House Republican leadership is very out of step with Americans, who want Congress to focus on jobs and the economy, not social issues that will raise taxes on small businesses and individuals,” said Richards. According to an April 2011 Hart Research poll, the vast majority of American voters, 63 percent, oppose the tax increases proposed in this bill.
Read Planned Parenthood’s Fact Sheet on Rep. Chris Smith’s anti-abortion bill HERE