Elizabeth Edwards said Tuesday that her husband's health-care plan would provide insurance coverage of abortion.
Speaking on behalf of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards
before the family planning and abortion-rights group Planned Parenthood
Action Fund, Edwards lauded her husband's health-care proposal as "a
true universal health-care plan" that would cover "all reproductive
health services, including pregnancy termination," referring to
Edwards was joined by Democratic candidates
Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) at the group's
political organizing conference in addressing issues at the core of the
political clash between cultural liberals and conservatives, including
abortion rights, access to contraception and sex education.
The recent 5-4 Supreme Court decision upholding a federal ban on a
late-term abortion procedure that opponents call "partial-birth
abortion" has increased anxieties among reproductive-rights advocates
over the future of constitutional protections for abortion rights. All
three of the Democratic campaigns used the forum to signal their
determination to appoint Supreme Court nominees who would uphold the
1973 Roe vs. Wade abortion ruling.
Obama, who earlier gained
the endorsement of Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian Fenty, offered the
group a vision of equal opportunity for women, tying a call for
improved access to contraceptives for low-income women with a call for
an "updated social contract" that includes paid maternity leave and
expanded school hours.
Asked about his proposal
for expanded access to health insurance, Obama said it would cover
"reproductive-health services." Contacted afterward, an Obama spokesman
said that included abortions.
Clinton has not yet released her
health-care proposal. She provided a bruising critique of Bush
administration policies and Republican conservatives on abortion rights
and contraception policy.
She criticized cuts in contraception
services for low-income women, lengthy delays in approving
over-the-counter sales of the "morning-after" contraceptive pill and
redirection of sex education funds to abstinence-only programs that do
not include information on contraceptive use or condoms toto prevent
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