Antichoice advocates using health reform to expand inequality.

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Amy Allina
Mon, August 10, 2009

Stephanie Poggi of the National Network of Abortion Funds has an article up on RH Reality Check about how anti-choice advocates are trying to use the health care reform debate to strengthen and expand restrictions on access to abortion – in spite of strong public opposition to those tactics.

Responding to a Guttmacher Institute analysis, Poggi writes “if there is an expansion in Medicaid eligibility under health care reform, many thousands more women - we don't know the exact numbers yet - will be denied abortion care because of the Hyde Amendment.” She describes the impact of the Hyde restrictions on women who struggle to find ways to pay for the abortion care that’s excluded from Medicaid:

[W]e talk to women every day who are sacrificing food and clothing for themselves and their families. In many cases, women have sold their cars or are living without electricity. Too often, they need to use their rent money to cover abortion care and end up homeless. Like so many other people who are devastated by the cost of health care in the U.S., they and their families are impoverished by the denial of coverage.

As Poggi points out, “Health care reform was supposed to be about expanding care, not about expanding inequality.” And the public knows this. That’s why 71 percent of voters support requiring health plans to cover reproductive health services, and 72 percent report that they would feel angry if Congress mandated by law that abortion would not be covered under a national health care plan. (That public opinion research was conducted this year by the Mellman Group for the National Women’s Law Center.)

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