The High Cost of State Bans on Abortion Coverage
04.09.14 - Since 1976, anti-choice politicians unable to explicitly ban abortion have sought to make it unaffordable by passing federal and state bans on insurance coverage for abortion care. Today, numerous state and federal laws impose unfair and harmful limitations on such insurance coverage. Millions of women who qualify for public health insurance like Medicaid are denied coverage of abortion care. Some states restrict coverage for abortion care for state and municipal employees, mirroring federal restrictions on government employees. And while a handful of states banned private insurance coverage of abortion before 2010, an anti-choice amendment to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) opened the door to new restrictions on insurance coverage for abortion by explicitly allowing states to limit such coverage in plans sold in state health insurance marketplaces. Anti-choice politicians have remained tenacious in their fight to restrict access to abortion for those who cannot afford that care. However, the renewed focus on how abortions are paid for and whether they are covered by insurance has energized advocates across the country seeking to protect and expand coverage for abortion – whether a woman’s insurance is provided by her employer or the government, or purchased individually.
Restrictions on abortion coverage not only interfere with a woman’s ability to make personal decisions, but they amplify existing health disparities, disproportionately harming women who already face barriers to accessing health care, including lower-income women and women of color. In order for a woman to make the best decision for herself and her family, a woman needs to have coverage for all pregnancy-related care, including abortion care, no matter where she gets her insurance.