The state of Connecticut declared abortion an "essential health benefit" last week and, as a result, the procedure must be covered by the state's health exchange under the Affordable Care Act. A state health panel voted unanimously to consider all abortions - not just abortions in cases of rape, incest, or to save the woman's life - essential health benefits that must be covered by Connecticut's insurance plans when the state's health exchange goes into effect in 2014.
Jennifer Jaff, executive director of Advocacy for Patients with Chronic Illness and a member of the advisory committee that is setting up the insurance exchange, praised the decision, saying "this issue is favorably resolved for all women now in Connecticut. Stripping women of elective abortions is not a tenable option." Victoria Vetri, Connecticut's healthcare advocate, said that the decision is "a matter of health. We wanted to protect a woman's right to choose."
Private insurance plans in Connecticut already cover abortion for any reason, Vetri told Connecticut Mirror. Under the Affordable Care Act, health plans across the country will be required by 2014 to cover certain essential health benefits, as determined by each state individually. Businesses and individuals have the option of purchasing the state's plan. The federal employees' health plan does not include coverage for abortions.
Media Resources: ThinkProgress 6/11/12; Care2 6/11/12; The Connecticut Mirror 6/8/12
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. . . .