1996 Coats Amendment Exposes Hypocritical and Now-Vulnerable Democrats -- Vote Nov. 3!!

by Stephanie Herman
Rightgrrl Co-Founder
October 27, 1998

Two years ago, a little-known amendment was passed in the Senate 63 to 37. Known as the Coats Amendment to the Balanced Budget Downpayment Act, II H.R. 3019, introduced by Senator Dan Coats (R-IN), once passed, it would "forbid discrimination by the Federal Government against any health care entity that refused to be involved in certain abortion-related activities" (according to the Senate Record Vote Analysis).

The forementioned discrimination would have been the direct result of an action taken by the Accrediting Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), which had recently determined that "any hospitals or training programs that refused to provide training for induced abortions could lose their accreditation," and thus, their federal funding. Without Coats' amendment, this action by the ACGME would have effectively overturned federal and state laws prohibiting such financial discrimination; 43 states had statutes similar to the Coats Amendment already in place.

The passage of the Coats Amendment came as no surprise. After all, the pro-choice camp promotes the idea that abortion should be a "choice" -- surely forcing hospitals to perform abortions would be the height of "choice" hypocrisy. So who were these 37 Senators who opposed this common-sense amendment? Who were these 37 Senators voting to force hospitals to "choose between providing abortion training or bankruptcy"?

Six of them are Democrats up for re-election this year in very tight races: Fritz Hollings (SC); Patty Murray, the "mom in tennis shoes" (WA); Carol Moseley-Braun (IL); Barbara Boxer (CA); Harry Reid (NV); Russ Feingold (WI).

Let's send a message to these Senators -- who voted against common-sense, who voted against "choice," and who voted against popular opinion! Throw your support behind Bob Inglis (SC), Linda Smith (WA), Peter Fitzgerald (IL), Matt Fong (CA), John Ensign (NV), Mark Neumann (WI)!


Spread the word that Hollings, Murray, Moseley-Braun, Boxer, Reid and Feingold voted to force hospitals to perform abortions! Send a "Letter to the Editor," email your favorite news outlet, post in newsgroups, call a friend -- spread the word that these Democrats voted against the concept of "choice" that even pro-abortion advocates concede must exist. No woman should be forced to abort -- no hospital should be forced to abort!

This article copyright © 1998 by Stephanie Herman and may not be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of its author. All rights reserved.