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Statement from Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, on Rep. Chris Smith’s (R-NJ) Misleadingly Named Bill, “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion,” which was introduced this morning:

“Republicans took control of Congress on a promise to create jobs, but instead, one of their first acts is to take away health insurance benefits that the majority of women currently have.  The true intent of Congressman Chris Smith’s bill is to end insurance coverage for virtually all abortions, including private insurance coverage that Americans pay for with their own money, even in cases involving the most severe dangers to a woman's health.

“Smith’s bill goes far beyond any other proposal ever introduced in Congress to take health care coverage away from women, would put the lives of women with life-threatening pregnancies in danger, and would not even provide abortion coverage to many women who are raped and become pregnant.

“For these women, the only choice they will have under Congressman Smith's bill will be to risk their health or risk bankruptcy because Congressman Smith will not allow them insurance coverage for abortion — and that's morally unacceptable.   The Smith bill even goes as far as to take existing protections away from women whose lives are in danger from serious medical conditions.

“Under the Smith bill, individuals who have health insurance coverage that includes abortion will face tax penalties because they will not be able to claim existing tax deductions for the cost of their health care.  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 deductions.  Ultimately, this will result in a tax increase that will affect millions of men and women across this country.

“Clearly, this bill doesn’t create one job or help fix the economy, which is what the new leaders of Congress have promised to do.  Even Republican voters in the midterm election overwhelmingly oppose conservative legislators’ restrictive agenda on women’s health, making it very clear that the public does not want its health benefits taken away.

“According to a November 2010 Hart Research poll, the vast majority of American voters reject this bill.  Seventy-four percent of voters disagree with making women who choose to purchase private health insurance with their own money pay higher taxes if that includes abortion coverage.  Significantly, 71 percent of voters who voted for a Republican candidate opposed this bill. Everyone from women’s groups, doctors and nurses, even Tea Party members don’t agree with pursuing an extreme social agenda.

“Planned Parenthood will vigorously oppose Chris Smith’s bill.”