WASHINGTON (PRWEB) March 12, 2019
Today, women of color and their allies in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House introduced the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act, with support from 85 national and state reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations united under the All* Above All campaign. This marks the bill’s first ever introduction in the Senate and its third introduction in the House. It would lift bans on insurance coverage for abortion and follows a historic midterm election that saw a record number of women of color elected to Congress.
“The Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed women’s constitutional right to make their own reproductive decisions, making clear the government has no place getting in between women and their doctors,” said U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois. “But for decades, conservative lawmakers have worked to whittle down that constitutionally-protected right to the point where it’s now effectively inaccessible for low-income women who rely on Medicaid, for female servicemembers and for millions more women nationwide. The Supreme Court didn’t protect these rights only for wealthy women, and they didn’t say only for women who live in certain states. That’s not right, it’s not fair, and it’s certainly not equal—so I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the EACH Woman Act so that every woman in this country has equal access to her constitutionally-protected rights, no matter her income, her race, or her zip code.”
“No woman should be denied the full spectrum of reproductive health care because of her zip code or income level – yet that is the reality for too many low-income women and women of color,” said U.S. Representative Barbara Lee, D-California. “The EACH Woman Act ensures that every woman is empowered to make critical decisions about her own pregnancy – and has coverage for all pregnancy-related health care, including abortion – regardless of her financial situation. I am proud to reintroduce this bill with the support of my colleagues and the trailblazing women leading the fight for reproductive justice around the country.”
“These harmful bans target people of color, interfere with our decisions, and push abortion out of reach. For years, women of color have been boldly leading this effort and we are proud that women of color are leading the effort in Congress to lift insurance bans,” said Destiny Lopez, co-director of All* Above All. “Trump and his anti-abortion friends in the Senate have already tried three times this year to restrict insurance coverage for abortion, but we’re not having it anymore. The EACH Woman Act is game-changing legislation that represents our bold and fearless vision that will transform abortion care for all people in the United States.”
Specifically, the bill ensures that every woman who receives her health care or insurance through the federal government will have coverage for all pregnancy-related services, including abortion. In addition, it prohibits political interference with decisions by private health insurance companies to offer coverage for abortion care. Restricting Medicaid coverage of abortion forces one in four poor women seeking abortion to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.
Since the initial passage of the Hyde Amendment in 1976, Congress has denied women insured through the Medicaid program coverage for abortion. This restriction has a widespread impact across the country, as about 7.5 million women of reproductive age enrolled in Medicaid live in states that withhold insurance coverage for abortion except in limited circumstances. Politicians in 26 states have also adopted restrictions that interfere with abortion as a covered health service in the private insurance market, with 11 banning coverage in all private plans except in very limited circumstances.
“Restrictions like the Hyde Amendment and other abortion coverage bans are racist, plain and simple. They harm women of color in this country, including Black women,” said Marcela Howell, president and CEO of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda. “Black women already face significant barriers to pregnancy-related care, including abortion. Ensuring coverage for the full range of services means each of us, and Black women in particular, can make our own decisions about pregnancy without political interference, shame, or stigma.”
“With the EACH Woman Act, we are sending a clear message to the Trump administration and anti-abortion politicians that we are done with their relentless attempts to marginalize our communities from health care, especially women of color and immigrant communities,” said Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. “Passing the EACH Woman Act will ensure that our communities could exercise our own decisions about our health, family and future with dignity and self-determination.”
ALL* ABOVE ALL unites organizations and individuals, including 130 partner organizations, to build support for lifting bans that deny abortion coverage. Our vision is to restore public insurance coverage so that every woman, however much she makes, can get affordable, safe abortion care when she needs it. Learn more at allaboveall.org and follow our social media at @allaboveall.