By Julie Rovner
“So far, the fight over the abortion ban language attached to the House health overhaul bill has mostly centered around “what ifs.” But now the complex stories of federal workers affected by a similar ban implemented by Republicans over a decade ago are surfacing.
Take D.J. Feldman, a 41-year-old federal employee from around Washington, DC. She became pregnant in 2008 with a baby she very much wanted. But three months later, her fetus was diagnosed with anencephaly, essentially a lack of most of the brain, skull, or scalp. Such profound defects prevent the affected babies from ever attaining consciousness, most are stillborn.
Feldman’s doctor told her she needed to end the pregnancy. ‘There was no doubt in her mind that this was medically necessary,’ Feldman said of her doctor’s advice. So Feldman went to a local hospital and had the abortion.
But six weeks later, she was shocked when she received letters from her insurance company, denying coverage for the procedure. ‘They surely couldn’t have expected me to carry a non-viable pregnancy to term,’ she said.
Her case, presented at a press conference by the Center for Reproductive Rights today, is the sort that worries advocates for women’s right to choose. They say cases like Feldman’s could become far more common if the language passed by the House becomes law.”