Charging that Florida’s ban on Medicaid funded abortions discriminates based on sex, the Center for Reproductive Rights will argue before a Florida court that it is unconstitutional to deny low-income women Medicaid funded abortions when their health is threatened by a pregnancy. By covering services relating to men’s reproductive health but not paying for similar services for women, Florida is discriminating against women, based on their gender.
“Florida is engaging in blatant sex discrimination. By providing Medicaid coverage for Viagra and not for medically necessary procedures for women, Florida is saying that women’s health is secondary to men’s health,” said Bonnie Scott Jones, staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights and lead counsel on the case.
Without Medicaid coverage for medically necessary abortions, some low-income women are forced to carry pregnancies to term, even though this may harm their health, or to significantly delay obtaining the procedure while they seek alternate funds. One of the plaintiffs in this case, Monica Navarrete, was denied Medicaid funds to obtain an abortion even though she suffers from epileptic seizures and her medication posed a serious threat to the health of her fetus.
Currently seventeen states cover all medically necessary abortions in their Medicaid programs, New Mexico and Connecticut have specifically ruled that refusing Medicaid coverage for low-income women’s abortions is a form of sex discrimination.
Plaintiffs in A Choice for Women, Inc. v. Florida Agency for Health Care Administration include a health clinic, a doctor, and a woman who was unable to receive Medicaid funding for a medically necessary abortion.
WHAT: Oral arguments challenging Florida’s ban on Medicaid funding for low-income women’s abortions
WHEN: Wednesday, June 18, 2003 at 9:00 A.M
WHERE: District Court of Appeal, Third District
2001 S.W. 117 Avenue