SF702 (HF809) would eliminate abortion coverage for Medicaid-insured women. A person’s source of health insurance shouldn’t determine whether or not they can access an abortion.
This bill would:
(1) Discriminate against women based on the type of health insurance they have;
(2) Challenge established law that ensures women will have access to the reproductive health care they need, regardless of financial situation.1
However we feel about abortion, politicians shouldn’t be able to deny a woman’s health coverage just because she’s poor.
- In states that do not provide Medicaid coverage for abortion, most low-income women still manage to obtain abortion. Many are forced to divert money from living expenses such as rent, food, or utilities and other bills.
- Eliminating Medicaid coverage for abortion creates a two-tiered system in which lower income women do not have the same freedom to make their own health care decisions as those who can afford abortion.
Coverage bans don’t end abortion, but they do push the procedure later into pregnancy.
- In states that deny Medicaid coverage of abortion, studies have shown that women postpone the procedure by 2-3 weeks to scrape together the funds to pay for it.2
- An abortion would cost a woman on Medicaid nearly a third of her monthly family income.3
This bill would result in a costly, lengthy lawsuit for the state of Minnesota.
- The Minnesota Supreme Court, in Doe v. Gomez, broadly interpreted the right to privacy and held that “the difficult decision whether to obtain a therapeutic abortion will not be made by the government, but will be left to the woman and her doctor.”
- Abortion opponents, themselves, agree that the only ways to reverse Doe v. Gomez would be for the Supreme Court to overturn its own ruling or for legislators to pass a constitutional amendment that would go to voters.4 This bill does neither.
- North Carolina had to tap its emergency fund in 2016 to pay $1 million in attorneys’ fees after a law requiring a woman to view an ultrasound was ruled unconstitutional.5
- When a district court ruled that a Wisconsin law was an undue burden on women seeking abortion, the state agreed to pay $1.6 million in attorney fees and legal costs to the law’s challengers.6
1Women of State of Minn. by Doe v. Gomez, 542 N.W.2d 17 (Minn. 1995).
2Roberts SCM et al., Out-of-pocket costs and insurance coverage for abortion in the United States, Women’s Health Issues, 2014, 24(2):e211–e218, doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2014.01.003.
3Division of Consumer and Community Affairs, Federal Reserve Board, Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2014, Washington, DC: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 2015, http://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/2014-report-economic-well-being-us-households-201505.pdf
4Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, “Minnesota’s Extreme Abortion Policy” fact sheet.
5Jarvis, Craig. “NC Must Dip Into Savings to Pay $1 million for Losing Abortion Ultrasound Case.” The News and Observer. 30 March 2016. Web. 6 Feb 2017.
6Treleen, Ed. “State Agrees to Pay Planned Parenthood Lawyers $1.6 million for fees, other costs.” Wisconsin State Journal. 7 Sept 2016. Web. 6 Feb 2017.