Planned Parenthood and its pro-choice allies are launching a grassroots lobbying front against the Stupak amendment -- the provision in the House's recently passed health care bill that would restrict private insurers from covering abortions, reports Newsweek
On Tuesday, Planned Parented hosted a meeting "dozens" of progressive groups at its Washington office. MoveOn.org, the American Civil Liberties Union and Services Employees International Union were in attendance, according to Politico. Last night Planned Parenthood launched an online petition for lawmakers and the group will host a meeting with leaders from reproductive rights, labor and progressive groups next week. The group has logged thousands of calls to lawmakers urging for the amendment to be stripped from the legislation.
But as their grassroots campaign mounts, Newsweek reports, the group may face an uphill battle in direct lobbying of lawmakers.
So lobbying the Senate will be difficult, but also absolutely necessary. Why? The Senate does not have a pro-abortion rights majority. According to NARAL's breakdown, there are 40 solid supporters of abortion rights, 41 in clear opposition, and 19 somewhere in the middle. That is actually pretty similar, percentage-wise, to the abortion-rights landscape of the House that approved the Stupak amendment.
The group is also relying on House progressives to vote against a bill containing the anti-abortion language -- 41 Democrats threatened to do just that in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to Politico.
Senate majority leader Harry Reid, who has a mixed record on abortion, has not yet indicated if he will include the Stupak-Pitts provision in the Senate's health care legislation.
Planned Parenthood voiced its opposition to the amendment in a statement released earlier this week:
"The fact is, the majority of private health insurance plans currently offer abortion coverage and the Stupak/Pitts amendment would result in the elimination of abortion coverage in the new insurance market created under health care reform. The Stupak/Pitts Amendment upends the carefully crafted compromise in the House bill and unambiguously restricts women's access to care."
Planned Parenthood reported spending $161,884.53 on lobbying expenditures in the third quarter, according to lobbying disclosure reports.