Contact Your Legislators!

Contact Your Legislators!

Today, the House of Representatives are voting on another anti-choice bill that will severely curtail abortion rights in the United States.

According to a summary by RH Reality Check, H.R. 358 will:

* Allow hospitals receiving federal funds to deny emergency abortions to women whose lives are in danger due to a pregnancy gone horribly wrong.

* Forbid state health care exchanges from providing abortion coverage even under policies paid for entirely with your own money. Exchanges are the public marketplaces for health insurance policies that will be rolled out by 2014 under the Affordable Care Act. Eventually, most people are expected to get their insurance through the exchanges. Exchanges were conceived as a means of expanding health care services, but under this and other legal restrictions they would in fact eliminate coverage most women already have. If H.R. 358 is successful, getting insurance that includes coverage for abortion will be nearly impossible – putting abortion out of reach of even more women.

* Place a gag order on insurers, preventing them from even giving women information about how to get abortion coverage.

President Obama has already said he will veto the bill if the House passes it.  It is still very important to contact your Representatives and ensure they understand their constituency does not want this dangerous bill to even be passed.

You can take action here with NARAL Pro-Choice America.  Or contact your Representatives directly here.

Handy Guide to Abortion Insurance Restrictions

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.

Anti-Choice News Roundup

The hearing for a North Dakota law that would restrict the use of Misoprostol (and thus restrict medical abortion) has been delayed until October.  This means that medical abortions can continue in North Dakota until October, when the constitutionality of the restrictions is decided.  The Center for Reproductive Rights filed the lawsuit against the new restrictions on behalf of the Red River Women’s Clinic, the only abortion providing clinic in all of North Dakota.

The ACLU of Kansas and Mid-Missouri has filed a lawsuit against the state of Kansas for it’s comprehensive ban of abortion coverage in insurance coverage in the state.  You might remember this is the same law where during the floor debates over it Rep. Pete DeGraaf compared pregnancy-due-to-rape to having a flat tire.  Obviously the women of Kansas do not need this restrictive and insulting law.  It is a huge insult to say that women should have to bear the consequence of rape without  the help of their health insurance.

While Planned Parenthood of Indiana fights the loss of title X and state funding, it has become easier to donate money to the organization.  PPIN has received tax exemption status.  People donating their money to help keep the clinics of PPIN can now use those donations as tax write-offs.  PPIN expects this to increase the number of donations it’s received.

Support No-Copay Birth Control

By Claire, Communications Intern

NARAL Pro-Choice America wants to make sure that the Obama Administration knows that America wants comprehensive birth control coverage with our new health care system.

Birth control is a fundamental need for millions of women.  Millions of women have to treat their reproductive needs as a luxury because they don’t have the money to pay a $50 or $30 or even $5 co-pay.    

Please sign this petition.  Women’s lives and well-being depend on it.  We have to make the government know, loud and clear, that the American people support this measure.  They need to see that American people want this measure, and that no matter what illogical, emotional grandstand the anti-choice movement throws back at them, that the majority of America wants this.       

Sign the petition here.

Institue of Medicine Recommends No Co-pay for Contraception

By Claire, Communications Intern

In a move that will significantly benefit everyone of reproductive age, the Institute of Medicine recommended in their report that insurance providers completely cover the cost of contraception.  Essentially, this would make birth control free for people with insurance. 

From NARAL Pro-Choice America’s press release, ” The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) appointed the Institute of Medicine (IOM) panel to recommend which services should be included. The panel, which included obstetricians, gynecologists, and other leading women’s health experts, recommended fully covering family-planning care. HHS now will decide whether to adopt the experts’ recommendation and make no-cost contraception a benefit required by law.”  

Recommendation 5.5 addresses contraception and family planning.  It suggests that the “full range of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.”  Other recommendations include screening and counseling for HIV, yearly well-woman preventative check-ups,  general STI testing and counseling, HPV-specific testing and counseling, comprehensive lactation support and counseling, and screening/counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America said in her statement, “Currently, nearly one in three women finds it difficult to pay for birth control, and that’s why the United States has a far higher unintended-pregnancy rate than other industrialized countries. Making family-planning services available at no cost will help millions of women prevent unintended pregnancy and thereby reduce the need for abortion. We are confident that the Obama administration will adopt the IOM’s science-based recommendation and make affordable contraception a reality for all women.”

This is super good news, especially in light of all the anti-choice, anti-birth control and anti-safe sex sentiments going around among various state and federal level politicians.  We can only hope that the Obama Administration will adopt these recommendations.