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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 6, 2002

CONTACT

Communications Department
202-667-5881

National Abortion Federation Joins Other Women's Health Organizations In Opposing HHS Plan to Extend CHIP Coverage to Fetuses

Policy Change does Not Protect Women's Health, But Could Instead Set A Precedent to Overturn Roe v. Wade

Washington, DC - Today the National Abortion Federation (NAF) joined a diverse group of women's health organizations in opposing the Department of Health and Human Services proposal to extend the Children's Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) to cover fetuses while ignoring the health needs of pregnant women. The regulation would redefine "child" in the CHIP program to include "unborn children" from conception through birth. "While we wholeheartedly support extending prenatal coverage to more low-income women," stated Vicki Saporta, NAF's President and CEO, "the Administration could achieve that goal without undermining a woman's right to choose abortion as decided in Roe v. Wade."

"Prenatal care is too important to women, children and families to be used as a political pawn. If the administration truly wants to ensure that more pregnant women obtain prenatal care, then they should increase funding and encourage states to obtain waivers for insuring pregnant women through CHIP," stated Saporta.

"The HHS plan would provide no additional or increased funding to the states to cover prenatal care under CHIP," said Saporta. States can currently obtain waivers through the federal government which allow pregnant women to be covered under CHIP. Two states, Rhode Island and New Jersey, have already obtained such waivers. The proposed policy would encourage bureaucratic processes and divisive abortion battles in each state. For this reason, the National Governors' Association last year rejected extending CHIP coverage to fetuses.

NAF will be working with Congress to support legislation to help improve prenatal care for women. "It is time for the Administration to stop pandering to the religious right, and to start protecting the health care needs of women," concluded Saporta.

For a copy of the comments NAF sent to the Department of Health and Human Services opposing the regulation change, please contact the NAF Communications Department at 202-667-5881.

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The National Abortion Federation is the professional association of abortion providers in the U.S. and Canada dedicated to ensuring that abortion remains safe, legal and accessible.
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