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Abortion Excluded From Health Care Coverage

Abortion Excluded From Health Care Coverage

Pro-choice groups were up in arms last week after the announcement that abortion coverage would be excluded from the temporary healthcare pools that will form a bridge into the new healthcare system.  The commotion began when questions arose over whether high-risk pools (known technically as Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plans, or PCIPs), could include abortion coverage.  These PCIPs will last until 2014, when new health insurance exchanges become operational.

According to Jessica Arons, writing for RHRealityCheck, the women who enter the PCIPs are already high-risk, meaning that for whatever reason, insurers are unwilling to sell them insurance.  So their potential need for an abortion is already greater than most.  The interesting thing is that nothing in federal law actually prohibits the use of federal or state funds to cover abortion in PCIPs; the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds for abortion, does not apply here.

Last March, in a last-minute compromise to gain votes from anti-choice Democrats, Obama signed an executive order that reiterated the limitations on abortion coverage in insurance exchanges and applied funding restrictions to community health centers.  This executive order, however, was mainly seen as “preserving the status quo,” and not going further than what was already in the current law.  This new restriction thus actually amplifies the effect of the original health care bill.  The administration ended the debate when they announced that elective abortions cannot be offered to people under PCIPs.

Outraged statements from pro-choice organizations have flooded the internet since last Wednesday, when the debate started.  Planned Parenthood denounced the move as “effectively denying some of the most medically vulnerable women in America access to desperately needed coverage,” and NARAL Pro-Choice America said, “it is unacceptable to treat abortion care differently in the new high-risk pools.”

As Allie Bohm of the ACLU points out in another piece for RH, the Obama administration went much further than it needed to.  “There’s nothing in the new Health Care Reform law that requires this restriction,” Bohm writes, “and it is deeply disturbing that a pro-choice administration would voluntarily impose such an anti-choice measure.”  Yes, yes it is.

Any further restrictions on accessible, affordable abortion are, of course, devastating to me, and all supporters of reproductive choice.  You can take action by writing to President Obama through Planned Parenthood’s website here, and asking him to reverse the decision.

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Photo from Flickr.

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92 comments

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9:09PM PDT on Aug 3, 2010

This is so stupid we pay from our taxes a bunch of crap that we don't even get benefits so why not pay for this...Ridiculous on what they are doing to woman

8:11AM PDT on Jul 26, 2010

until every baby born in the US lives and every woman who gives birth survives the ordeal the debate should be about how to make sure every woman has complete and free access to qualtiy health care NOT on what should be excluded!!

7:06PM PDT on Jul 25, 2010

Basically Obama did nothing more than keep his part of the bargain he made to secure the votes of the "Stupak coalition", without which the Health Care Bill would not have been passed. The abortion provision was kept out of the law itself, but he made some promises in that direction that were NOT part of the written agreements in order to get the votes necessary to pass what he regarded as the key legislation of his administration. Without health care, he was facing the likelihood of a totally failed Presidency, and he was willing to give up that concession in order to get the votes to pass the bill

Welcome to Washington.

9:23AM PDT on Jul 25, 2010

I stand by what I said in my comment on the Mexican abortion situation. viz. what is done to women in the name of organized religion world wide is evil, in mexico the Catholic church in Usa the right wing bible belt and both are more about men subjugating women than about love or compassion.

7:50AM PDT on Jul 25, 2010

I've always wondered about people who don't want abortion covered because they don't want to "pay for other people's mistakes". Shouldn't they also be refusing to pay for prenatal care if the pregnancy is unwanted? Shouldn't they demand that heart attack victims' lifestyles be scrutinized before their tax dollars are used to help them? Shouldn't they refuse to pay for treatment of the driver who was at fault in an accident...the kid who climbed too high in a tree and fell...the person who went rollerblading and forgot their wristguards at home... Oh, and if they were serious about not paying for people's mistakes (as opposed to just wanting punish behaviour they don't like), wouldn't they specify that they only refused to pay for the abortions of women who didn't use contraceptives?

How about we realize that a good deal of healthcare services involve correcting mistakes, and that if we want a working healthcare system, we need to quit picking and choosing what is and isn't covered. Maybe we could also GROW UP and realize that unplanned pregnancy is a more complex issue than "someone's mistake" or "a woman having opened her legs". (Actually, you people should stop bashing leg-opening, it just screams sexual dissatisfaction).

12:37AM PDT on Jul 25, 2010

Denying the women coverage increases their risks. Limits their health care options. That's never acceptable. Complete & full access to quality health care is a right for all women regardless of reproductive issues.

12:18AM PDT on Jul 25, 2010

Through planed parenthood? Probably not beings they target black and poor communities mostly.....just sayin, Put it where it belongs in a hospital where sick people go....and keep births at sepearte facilities you know! How disgusted I was to have been forced to give birth where people go to die.

7:32PM PDT on Jul 23, 2010

It is simple yet complicated for many on the anti-choice side here. if you want your wars you pay for them because I disagree with wars ok. If you want your viagra you pay for it because I do not need it or will ever need it.
So now why is this so hard for the ant-choicers to understand?
I now am paying for two never ending wars that i absolutely opposed I hate it but I have to pay or leave the country. Viagra is covered under healthcare insurance. What the heck am I as a woman paying for that for??
What is it you don't get? Nothing is fair in life. It really is very unfair for poor woman to be straped with unwanted children who will be the ones who suffer and the tax payers will be paying for all these kids eventually. So what is it you don't get about it?

6:47PM PDT on Jul 23, 2010

to Heather A. & Jake S.
keep spreading your warm Compassion,
there's always hope it might be received by some!
LOVE your words

5:29PM PDT on Jul 23, 2010

* Holly Bachman says
Abotion unless it is life-threatening or involves rape should not be included in the health care. Programs and contraception should however be included since it is preventing the issue of abortion to happen.

I find your opinion reasonable. A problem could be what is considered life-threatening (for instance, needing a medical treatment incompatible with a pregnancy).
Also, wan't to support Emily S. argument. As she has said, some contraceptive methods have other medical uses, such as treating severe acne cases or dysfunctional uterine bleeding. Or preventing not being able to have babies (the pill is used on treatment for polycystic ovarian syndrome, which can cause infertility).

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