Women may theoretically have the right to make their own choice about abortion, but GOP-run states are lining up to make the procedure more difficult to obtain, presumably to protest Obamacare in one of the last ways they can.
Since the 2010 passing of the Affordable Care Act, 21 states have passed laws barring private insurance plans from covering abortions. Before the bill, just two states had such laws.
According to Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager at Guttmacher Institute, a women’s sexual health group, “As soon as the ink was dry on the ACA, states started passing laws limiting abortion coverage on the exchanges … Many of these states were hostile to the Affordable Care Act in general. They are unsupportive of abortion rights. And put those two issues together and it’s easy to pass an abortion coverage restriction for the health exchanges.”
Indeed, the ban on abortion coverage mirrors other attempts to stifle Obamacare, such as refusing to enhance Medicaid or attempting to slash consumer protection.
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According to the National Women’s Law Center, nearly all of the recent bills will block coverage for those who need abortions for medical reasons. Even women whose lives are threatened by pregnancy may be denied.
In some cases, supplementary insurance plans will be allowed for women requesting abortions. However, this theoretical solution may not pan out in practice, as such plans can be difficult — if not impossible — to find.
“We haven’t been able to ascertain if health plans are actually offering these riders,” said Gretchen Borchelt, NWLC’s director of state reproductive health policy. “My sense has also been that health plans also don't know that riders are supposed to be offered or available.”
Women already have higher health costs than men, along with lower incomes. Placing greater financial burdens on women who choose legal abortions may only compound these problems.