Anti-Abortion Supporters Push to Restrict Insurance Coverage
Anti-abortion forces in 28 states are pressuring state lawmakers to pass legislation restricting private health insurance plans from covering abortion services. Currently, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, private insurance companies that participate in public exchanges are allowed to provide abortion coverage. However, women seeking abortion coverage must make two separation payments - the first for abortion coverage and the second for the remaining cost of coverage.
Adam Sonfield, a public policy expert at the Guttmacher Institute stated, "Every additional restriction is adding to the probability that insurance companies will throw up their hands and say, 'This isn't worth our time anymore.'" According to the Guttmacher Institute, "87% of typical employer-based insurance policies in 2002 covered medically necessary or appropriate abortions."
Eight states - Virginia, Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, and Utah have passed laws banning private health plans that participate in public health exchanges from covering abortions. Last week, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) added an amendment to a bill passed by the state's general assembly that would prohibit private health insurance companies that participate in the state health exchange from covering abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, and when the woman's life is endangered. The amendment would also ban women from using their own money to buy separate policy riders for abortion services.
Media Resources: National Partnership for Women and Families 4/11/11; New York Times 4/8/11; Guttmacher Institute 4/1/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/1/11
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .