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WHOSE 'STATUS QUO?' JAMES NOTES ABORTION ON DEMAND IS A FRINGE BENEFIT

 WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The Family Reseach Council issued the following:
 The Family Research Council (FRC) today released a study challenging the prevailing wisdom among abortion advocates -- both inside the administration and out -- that the majority of employer-based private insurance plans cover abortion -- a contention FRC Vice President Kay Coles James called "pure, politically-motivated speculation." She noted that when the president details his health care plan today there is little doubt that, despite his doublespeak, abortion on demand will be included in the reproductive health provisions of the mandatory standard benefit package, which has not been automatic procedure.
 "To generalize about the abortion coverage policies of the majority of insurance companies or employers in the absence of a rigorously scientific study on the topic is an irresponsible attempt to mislead the American public," said James.
 Several weeks ago, pro-abortion activists released two "informal" surveys as evidence that the majority of Americans already have coverage for abortion services through their private health insurance plans. Subsequently, the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues politicized the informal surveys' findings stating "the majority of private plans ... currently cover abortion services" and that the failure to do so would "take away coverage many currently have today."
 The Family Research Council's paper, based on its own informal surveys of policy holders and state insurance departments, details the egregious methodological flaws behind making such unsubstantiated generalizations. It criticizes the methodology of the abortion activists' surveys on several grounds. No distinction is made between the coverage of "abortion services" and "elective abortion." The major insurance companies formally cited in the two surveys represent only a small minority of the insured population. And the interpretation of the surveys fails to recognize that one company may offer several plans -- some of which exclude abortion on demand.
 James said there is no precedent to treat abortion on demand as a federally mandated benefit in private insurance. "The Hyde Amendment, The 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Title XIII HMO Amendments to the Omnibus Act of 1988, and the Education Amendments to the 1988 Civil Rights Restoration Act all ensure that employers and insurers have the option whether or not to cover abortion." These laws do not define abortion on demand as a mandatory service.
 Ironically, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a special affiliate of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, concluded in its report on health care reform: "No comprehensive or current data exist on private insurance coverage for reproductive health services, even for the coverage of prenatal and maternity care," and "Information on coverage for sterilization and abortion is either sparse, lacking or not contemporary."
 Abortion activists do not see mandatory coverage of abortion as a status quo issue, James noted. "Reporters may remember a July 12 speech by Pamela Maraldo, president of Planned Parenthood, who called `reproductive health services' -- read abortion -- a 'defining moment.' And she's right. That's why the Family Research Council opposes the Clinton plan to force pro-family Americans to pay for a procedure that morally offends them."
 -0- 9/22/93
 /CONTACT: Kristi Stone Hamrick of the Family Research Council, 202-393-2100/


CO: Family Research Council ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA SU: EXE

KD-DS -- DC042 -- 4908 09/22/93 17:33 EDT
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Date:Sep 22, 1993
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