Now Press Release
September 21, 2010
Late last night, the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Health and Human Services released pre-regulatory model guidelines for the implementation of the anti-abortion rights provisions tacked on to the Affordable Care Act in order to secure the votes of a handful of religious fundamentalists serving in Congress.
NOW remains clear that women in the United States have fewer abortion rights today than we did one year ago, and that the situation will be dramatically worsened by the time health insurance exchanges are up and running in 2014. Forcing health insurers who participate in exchanges to segregate funds for abortion care perpetuates grave injustice to women; insults those paying into plans — young, old, women, men, as well as payroll account administrators — with a burdensome monthly “two-check” requirement; and will lead to the end of private coverage for abortion care, even for women with the luxury to afford their own insurance premiums.
Today 87 percent of employer-based insurance plans cover abortion care; those that choose to continue that coverage while participating in exchanges will be subject to annual cost audits, new layers of internal and administrative controls and the potential for harassment from state health insurance commissioners. It is no surprise that a George Washington University study has predicted that one outcome of the Affordable Care Act will be the virtual elimination of private coverage for abortion care — legal medical care accessed by one in three women in this country.
Discrimination against abortion care is discrimination against women. NOW intensifies its calls on President Obama to live up to his campaign promises to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding for abortion care, and to pass the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). NOW also calls on women to speak up and organize for abortion rights at the community level — whether lobbying elected officials; penning opinion pieces and blog posts; or countering the pervasive violence and harassment outside reproductive health clinics.