Cornerstone Supports HB 228; Urges State Senators to Distinguish Abortion from Health Care

April 5, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 4/5/12

CONTACT: Ellen Kolb, Legislative Affairs Director  603-321-2703

Cornerstone Supports HB 228;UrgesStateSenators to Distinguish Abortion from Health Care

In days when insurance co-pays and insistence on religious freedom are called elements of “a war on women” by some of our fellow citizens, we need to set the record straight. Women do indeed speak for themselves. Among those diverse voices are pro-life women whose beliefs and ideals are at risk of being not just overlooked but rejected by policymakers whose job it is to promote the general welfare, not just the welfare of the best-funded, most vocal citizens.

Cornerstone is inConcordtoday for a hearing on HB 228, to keep family planning funds away from abortion providers so that no matter who is in the White House,New Hampshirewill maintain separation between family planning, which is health care, and abortion, which is not. When this bill was introduced a year ago, none of us thought that funding would become such a compelling issue both in our state and in Washington.

To those who say this discussion is a distraction from more important issues, or even that the matter is already settled, I say wrong on all counts. In fact, if I were to accept the it’s-all-settled argument, the Supreme Court would back me up, having ruled for at least the past twenty years that the right to a procedure or medication does not include a right to have that procedure or medication paid for by others. We’re here today for a state bill, while we recognize that a related dispute we did not seek is brewing inWashington.

When the federal government calls a procedure “preventive” and thus “free” under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, we know that there’s no such thing as “free.”  Everyone, including women with religious objections to the procedures, must pay, since everyone will be required to carry insurance. Religious institutions providing insurance to employees will have to pay to include that coverage even if the procedures violate the tenets of the religion in question. We are moving from choice to compulsion, and the religious liberty violation adds insult to injury.

New Hampshire’s own mandate, passed a dozen years ago, was not part of a system of mandatory participation, which is a critical difference from PPACA. If state mandates like ours have helped to lead to the provisions of the federal proposal, though, it’s time to re-evaluate our state’s policies. Pro-life women who assumed they could avoid funding things to which they objected are finding that this may no longer be the case. In these circumstances, it’s time to re-set our policies and funding priorities.

Pro-life women are patients, too. So are their children. We all have a stake in how health care is provided. We are learning the hard way that the link between insurance and health care does not always serve our needs, which go beyond physical health. We are bold enough to want it all, and experienced enough to know that we can’t count on anyone else to speak for us. We want state policies that enhance health care choice, including the choice not to pay for procedures to which we are morally opposed. We want state policy that recognizes abortion is different from health care. We want federal policy that does not consider women’s fertility to be a preventable disease. We expect our religious beliefs to be respected, not as some outliers on a social scale, but as vibrant, essential elements of our community.

We sought no social war on these things, but if that’s what we’re faced with, women will be there, not all on one side. We’ll defend what we know to be right for our future and that of our children.

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