Abortion

I have little to add to the discussion this morning, so I'll just repost this tweet by a Wall St. Journal health reporter:

Almost half the states have laws in place or at the ready to curtail or outlaw abortion, including 13 states with trigger laws in place that will ban it immediately.

— Alex Janin (@AlexLJanin) June 24, 2022

America is in a very, very dark place right now.

I originally wrote about this issue back in 2017.

As explained in this Health Affairs article by Katie Keith and Timothy Jost:

The final Senate compromise, which was adopted as part of the ACA, largely reinforces the Hyde Amendment, which has been included in annual Congressional appropriations legislation since the 1970s and prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion services unless the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, or would endanger the woman’s life (non-Hyde abortions).

The ACA allows the coverage of abortion services through the marketplaces but includes a number of restrictions and requirements that insurers must follow before covering non-Hyde abortions. Many, though not all, of these restrictions are outlined in Section 1303 of the ACA, which includes specific rules related to the coverage of abortion services by Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) and has been the subject of previous litigation. In particular, Section 1303:

New Jersey

via the New Jersey Dept. of Banking & Insurance:

TRENTON —The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance today announced that it is accepting public comment on access to comprehensive reproductive care, coverage of reproductive services and related health impacts.  

The department is collecting public comment as part of the implementation of the historic Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act recently signed by Governor Phil Murphy, which codifies the constitutional right to freedom of reproductive choice in New Jersey.  

“In signing the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act, Governor Murphy protected a woman’s right to make medical decisions about her reproductive health,” said Commissioner Marlene Caride. “The department is looking forward to hearing from the public as we examine the impact of insurance coverage on the availability of comprehensive reproductive care services.” 

In U.S. politics, the Hyde Amendment is a legislative provision barring the use of federal funds to pay for abortion except to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape. Legislation, including the Hyde Amendment, generally restricts the use of funds allocated for the Department of Health and Human Services and consequently has significant effects involving Medicaid recipients. Medicaid currently serves approximately 6.5 million women in the United States, including 1 in 5 women of reproductive age (women aged 15–44).

Federal dollars can't be used to pay for abortion outside of the above restrictions, but Medicaid is funded via hybrid federal/state funding, so there are 15 states where Medicaid does pay for abortion using the state's portion of the funding.

UPDATE 11/29/19: This horrific and batshit insane Ohio bill is making the news again six month later thanks to a new Guardian article about it.

The only silver lining I can find here is that the bill doesn't appear to have made any further progress in that time--according to the official Ohio Legislature website, so far it's only been "introduced" and "referred to committee", and those happened back in April. The Guardian article has the number of co-sponsors the same as it was in May as well (19, plus the primary sponsor of the bill).

UPDATE: It's been pointed out that the Supreme Court has ruled that minors can't receive the death penalty, so I guess that means "only" life in prison for them. If they're 18 or older, however...

On the other hand, several people have noted that an 11-year old pelvis isn't generally developed enough to even deliver a baby safely, along with other health risks, so it could very well be a death sentence regardless, so I'm leaving the headline as is.

Georgia's "pro-life" Republicans have passed a law that would subject a woman who self-terminates after six weeks to life imprisonment or capital punishment. https://t.co/vbBpfRzIgj @Slate pic.twitter.com/Djqn0LbLf6

— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) May 7, 2019

The tagline for ACASignups.net is "healthcare policy data, analysis & snark", so naturally many of my blog posts have tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic headlines.

This is not one of those times. The headline above is absolutely, sickeningly true.

On a couple of days ago, both houses of the Ohio state legislature--the House and Senate alike--voted to ban abortion outright six weeks after conception. There's no exception for rape. There's no exception for incest. There is an exception for the life of the mother (not her health, mind you...just her actual ability to keep breathing)...but that's it. Yesterday this bill was signed into law by GOP Governor Mike DeWine.

The six-week abortion ban known as the "heartbeat bill" is now law in Ohio. That makes Ohio the sixth state in the nation to attempt to outlaw abortions at the point a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

I'm lumping together three Tennessee-based stories here from the past month or so, but they're perfectly connected to each other:

March 7th, 2019:

The Tennessee House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday that would ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, mimicking laws in other states that have been struck down by the courts and drawing the criticism of both advocates and opponents of abortion rights.

The measure, House Bill 77, would tightly restrict the window of time within which a woman could seek an abortion, because a fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. That is before many women even realize they are pregnant.

In U.S. politics, the Hyde Amendment is a legislative provision barring the use of federal funds to pay for abortion except to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape. Legislation, including the Hyde Amendment, generally restricts the use of funds allocated for the Department of Health and Human Services and consequently has significant effects involving Medicaid recipients. Medicaid currently serves approximately 6.5 million women in the United States, including 1 in 5 women of reproductive age (women aged 15–44).

Federal dollars can't be used to pay for abortion outside of the above restrictions, but Medicaid is funded via hybrid federal/state funding, so there are 15 states where Medicaid does pay for abortion using the state's portion of the funding.

OK, this is kind of beating a dead horse since the Alexander-Collins bill is dead anyway, but just for completeness sake:

Last week I pointed out that aside from everything else that's problematic about the abortion restriction language included in the A-C bill, it would also have run into a big legal problem because three states (California, New York and Oregon) legally mandate that major medical healthcare policys cover abortion, in direct opposition to the A-C provision which would deny federal subsidies, CSR assistance or reinsurance funds to...any healthcare policy which covers abortion.

Well, today I can add a fourth state to this list:

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a measure that requires Washington insurers offering maternity care to also cover elective abortions and contraception.

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