House Democrats introduced legislation on Wednesday that would guarantee abortion coverage for all Medicaid recipients and women who are covered under a federal government health insurance plan.
The Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act, or the EACH Woman Act, was authored by Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee of California, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Diana DeGette of Colorado, and Louise Slaughter of New York. It has over 60 House Democrats as co-sponsors.
If the legislation passed, it would repeal the Hyde Amendment, a policy rider that bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortion, except in cases of incest or rape. The bill would also end the decades-long ban on abortion insurance coverage for U.S. federal employees, military servicewomen, Peace Corps volunteers, and those insured by the Indian Health Service, Huffington Post reports.
"Make no mistake-- these lawmakers really do want to ban abortions altogether," Lee said at a press conference on Wednesday. "Since they can't, they employ these very devious and underhanded tactics to push abortion care out of reach for women who are really just struggling to just make ends meet, and that's just wrong.
"Politicians have no business interfering with a woman's private reproductive health decisions."
At the time of the passing of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, 86 percent of private insurance companies covered abortion, while Medicaid recipients and federal employees plans did not. Since then, over 20 GOP-led state legislators have passed laws banning private insurance companies from covering abortions.
“In several states, lawmakers are singling out abortion and prohibiting insurance companies from including abortion coverage in their policies," the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) writes on its website. It als displays a United States map showing abortion insurance bans throughout the country.
"The trend is fast-moving and startling: since federal health care reform passed in 2010, 5 states passed bans on abortion coverage and another 23 banned coverage in their exchanges,” the ACLU adds.
The states that currently ban all private insurance comprehensive plans from covering abortions are Idaho, Utah, North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky.
Planned Parenthood has come out in support of the EACH Woman Act, calling it “historic.”
"For 40 years, the majority of Americans have been saying that abortion should be safe and legal," said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. "And that means it should be safe and legal for everyone – not only for those who can afford it.”
Some of the other supporters of the EACH Woman Act include over 65 members of Congress, the ACLU, Catholics for Choice, Center for American Progress, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, National Council of Jewish Women, Inc., Physicians for Reproductive Health, and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. The full list of supporters may be found at the All Above All website.
Photo Source: All Above All/Facebook, Screenshot