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Urge the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to Lift Regulations Restricting Abortion Coverage in High Risk Pools

Earlier this summer the Administration adopted regulations restricting abortion coverage in the new federal and state high-risk pool plans. Abortion coverage will only be allowed in the cases of rape, incest, or danger to the woman’s life. The high-risk pool plans will be offered to people with pre-existing conditions, such as breast cancer, so this decision means that thousands of women with serious medical conditions will lack coverage from abortions they may need because of risks to their health. Legal analysis of the issue shows that neither the Hyde Amendment, which restricts the use of Labor-HHS federal funding for abortions, nor the Nelson Amendment, which restricts the abortions in the insurance exchange section of the federal health care reform law, apply to the high-risk pools.

Raising Women’s Voices of Southeastern Pennsylvania, a coalition that PathWays PA is a member of, is asking people to sign onto a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services urging them to lift the above restrictions.

If you or your organization would like to sign onto the letter please email policy@pathwayspa.org by Friday, September 3, 2010 at 5pm. 

Below is an excerpt from the letter:

Dear Secretary Sebelius,


As member organizations of Raising Women’s Voices of Southeastern Pennsylvania, we strongly support making women’s reproductive health services accessible and available to all women. Thus, we write to voice our opposition to the administration’s recent adoption of regulations banning abortion coverage in the high-risk pool insurance plans and ask that you lift these restrictions….


We are thrilled that with the passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act affordable and accessible medical coverage will be widely available for Americans of all ages, incomes, races, or genders. Women, whose specialized needs were often not met in the past, will now have greater access to pre-natal, maternity, primary, and preventive care, as well as acute and chronic care services.


Despite this progress, we are deeply concerned by your decision to deny one of the most important medical services that a woman may need for her survival. The Obama administration’s newly announced restrictions on the high-risk pool insurance coverage of abortion are threatening women’s lives. This policy puts women with serious medical conditions at risk by eliminating funds for abortion coverage they may need. Women are barred from purchasing this coverage even if they use their own premium dollars, effectively inhibiting their fundamental reproductive liberties….


We have fought long to obtain health care coverage for all Americans; please do not let the care cease for the women who need it the most. We cannot support a policy that denies access to an essential medical service for women, especially for those most at risk of experiencing serious medical complications. Women with pre-existing medical conditions need to have the option of obtaining abortion coverage. Please reconsider your decision and give back our basic reproductive freedoms.


Thank you for your consideration and attention to this matter.


Sincerely,

Raising Women’s Voices of Southeastern Pennsylvania
A project of WOMEN’S WAY

African Family Health Organization - Black Women’s Health Alliance - Bucks County National Organization for Women - ACLU of Pennsylvania- Clara Bell Duvall Reproductive Freedom Project - Cherry Hill Women’s Center - Coalition of Labor Union Women - Family Planning Council - Health Care for America Now - HepTREC - League of Women Voters of Philadelphia - Lutheran Settlement House - Maternal and Child Health Consortium in Chester County - Maternity Care Coalition. - Medical Students for Choice - Nancy’s House - Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Omega Omega Chapter. - PathWays PA - Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO - Philadelphia National Organization for Women - Philadelphia Nurse Family Partnership - Philadelphia Women’s Center - Planned Parenthood Bucks County - Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania - Women’s Law Project - Women’s Medical Fund - WOMEN’S WAY

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