19 May 2010

States Move to Further Limit Abortion Coverage

Think the battle over health care reform is behind us? Time to think again – particularly when it comes to abortion coverage.

According to the Associated Press, lawmakers and policy groups in more than 29 states have “expressed serious interest” in enacting laws that would further restrict coverage of abortions by insurers in “new markets” (those health care exchanges you heard so much about in the run up to the vote) – even, as we noted earlier this week – if that insurance is private.

How is that possible? Look to language in the health care bill if you want an explanation. Buried in the not-so-fine print is an allowance that makes it ok for states to do precisely what they are now doing: limit abortion coverage by private insurers if they are operating in these new markets, or exchanges. Arizona, Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi and Missouri, have already made their move, banning insurers from covering these services. And three other states – Louisiana, Ohio and Oklahoma – are apparently not far behind.

Scary as it may be to confront, this kind of action at the state level proves just how vital grassroots organizations will be to keeping reproductive freedom real – in the near term and beyond. Learn more about how the Ms. Foundation is providing strategic support to state and local organizations that are working to combat restrictive reproductive rights policies.

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