Tonight, the president will lay out his priorities for the year when he delivers the State of the Union in front of a joint session of Congress. His speech will be followed by three Republican responses: the “official” response from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (the highest ranking Republican woman in the House), Senator Mike Lee on behalf of the Tea Party, and Senator Rand Paul on behalf of, well…Senator Rand Paul. We wonder whether or not Rep. McMorris Rodgers will mention that the House spent their day voting on a bill to end insurance coverage of abortion and make abortion out of reach, even in cases where a woman's health is in danger.
That’s right, the 113th Congress, which has passed fewer laws in its first year than any single session in history, is now pushing forward legislation that would deny women comprehensive health coverage and eliminate access to safe and legal abortion — while raising taxes on women and small businesses.
The misleadingly named “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” (H.R. 7), is a dangerous assault on women’s health and a harmful attempt to take away the comprehensive private health insurance coverage that millions of women have today. It takes unprecedented steps to fundamentally change the health insurance market from one where abortion coverage is the industry standard to one where it’s eliminated (currently 87 percent of employer-provided insurance plans include abortion coverage).
The bill would:
- Seek to eliminate abortion access by denying insurance coverage of abortion and interfering with a woman’s personal decision making.\
- Threaten women’s health because it does not allow exceptions for health insurance coverage of abortion — even when a woman’s health is in danger.
- Raise taxes for families by denying women and families, whose health insurance plans include abortion coverage, the federal subsidies they are entitled to under the Affordable Care Act.
- Raises taxes on small businesses if they offer their employees comprehensive health insurance coverage that includes abortion.
- Harm women at home and abroad because it does not allow any exceptions for women to get the coverage they need when their health is in danger, even in circumstances where a woman needs an abortion to prevent severe, permanent damage to her health.
In a time when Americans want Congress to focus on jobs and the economy, these anti-women’s health politicians want to push for a bill that places restrictions on how women with private insurance can spend their own private dollars. It has the potential to affect millions of women, including:
- Women who, for the first time, can now enroll in private health insurance in the Marketplace because of Obamacare, and women receiving coverage through their employer purchasing insurance for employees in the Marketplace.
- The approximately 4.1 million women enrolled in federal government employer health insurance.
- The approximately 37 million women receiving coverage through private insurance who could lose access to abortion coverage.
In addition, Congress is seeking to continue harmful restrictions that impact women enrolled in public insurance, including:
- The nearly 19 million females enrolled in Medicaid, plus the approximately 2.1 million newly enrolled because of the Affordable Care Act.
- The millions of Peace Corps volunteers, military service women, veterans, and military dependents.
- Women with disabilities enrolled in Medicare.
And of course, the bill would be especially harmful for women struggling to make ends meet, who may not be able to afford a safe and legal abortion without insurance coverage.
This bill is nothing more than an attempt to eliminate abortion access and undermine a woman's ability to make personal decisions about her own health care. Politicians who interfere with women's health are going too far. Ironically, the House is making their move just as women are enjoying new benefits from the Affordable Care Act. The bottom line is: a woman’s health insurance is supposed to enable her to take care of her health and well-being, not limit her options. We have to stop this dangerous bill, and stop it now. Tell your representative to vote NO on this dangerous bill.