By Claire, Communications Intern
As states prepare for federal healthcare reform, anti-choice politicians have been forcing the abortion debate onto the floor. This new debate deals with the state-based insurance exchange system that will allow individuals and small businesses to buy insurance from private insurance companies. This exchange system will, in theory, make it easier and more affordable to access healthcare services for the millions of Americans currently without health insurance. However, anti-choice politicians want to single out and eliminate abortion as a coverage of insurance policies offered on the state health exchanges. As usual, anything even remotely related to government money or tax-payer money will draw the attention of anti-choice politicians who cannot stand the idea that the government should support a legal, safe medical procedure. They have come out in force in some states.
Kansas, one of the hotbeds of the abortion debate, is currently being sued by the Kansas branch of the American Civil Liberties Union for passing a law that would restrict all people in the state from purchasing coverage through the exchange that includes abortion. The ACLU is challenging the constitutionality of that law.
Meanwhile, the national office of the ACLU has released this handy guide abortion restriction coverage. Due to prior laws, such as the Hyde Amendment, federal employees cannot choose a plan that covers abortion in any state. Other states, including North Carolina, this lack of coverage also extends to state employees and Medicaid. A small number of states, like Kansas, bar everyone from including abortion coverage in their plan.
Currently, most private insurance companies in the United States cover abortion,and insurance companies have stated over and over again that removing abortion coverage will not cut costs for the individual or the government. Those facts alone showss the ideological nature of these restrictions. Abortion is a legal medical procedure like any other legal medical procedure that will be covered in these insurance plans. Every American deserves the right to have comprehensive heath insurance coverage, not just those who can afford to buy completely private insurance. The only people who should have the authority to make decisions about what needs to be covered are physicians and the people buying the insurance, not biased politicians with no medical training.