5:53 PM EDT
Jerrold Nadler, D-NY 8th

Mr. NADLER. Mr. Chairman, I rise to support the DeLauro amendment to strike the provision which bans Federal health plans from offering abortion coverage. Approximately two-thirds of private fee-for-service plans and 70 percent of HMOs provide abortion coverage.

Until 1995, the Federal Government in its employee benefit plans likewise provided this coverage, but we have allowed the anti-choice forces in this House to substitute their judgment and their morality and their opinions to impose those opinions and judgments on the women in the workforce of the United States. This is shameful and unjust.

We should not allow the ideological bias of some Members to decide what more than a million employees of the Federal Government can do with their own compensation.

By specifying what they can do with their own compensation, we are seriously intruding into their privacy and their control over their own salaries and benefits.

Mr. Chairman, a moment ago it was alluded to the fact or to the assertion that what will be remembered in the future is what we do with respect to the lives of innocents. Well, the fact is there is a difference of opinion as to when life begins, and we say that a woman must have the ability to make her own moral choices and not have the Government make that choice. The Supreme Court says that, too; but we are misusing the power of this House to say we cannot impose our will on the women of America

in terms of whether they choose to have an abortion. We cannot substitute our judgments for theirs, but we can substitute our judgment for those who happen to work for the Federal Government because we can make sure that their insurance will not cover it. That is wrong.

They have the right to make their own moral judgments. Every woman must make a moral judgment for herself and we should not substitute the judgments of the Members of this House for theirs. That is an arrogant form of moral imperialism, and we should not do it.