Tuesday, January 25, 2011

PathWays PA Special E-Alert: Vote on Abortion Ban in PA Public Health Exchanges Happening Today

Pennsylvania State CapitolAt 12:30 today, the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee will hold a vote on SB3, a bill which will ban abortion coverage in the exchanges set up as part of healthcare reform. Please call members of the Banking and Insurance Committee this morning and ask them to vote no on SB 3. Without abortion coverage, more women will lose access to safe, legal abortions.

Under the Affordable Care Act, states have the ability to decide whether to offer abortion coverage through their state health insurance exchanges, a marketplace for people to buy individual and small business insurance coverage at competitive rates. SB 3 would ban abortion coverage in the exchanges except in cases of rape or incest (in which case the woman must report the crime to the police and identify the assailant, if known) or when the life of a woman is in danger. There is no exception for situations such as paralysis, organ failure or infertility.


If a state chooses to allow abortion coverage, women must purchase the coverage separately and pay for it out of their own pocket - there is no federal funding for this insurance. By banning coverage for abortion in the exchanges, women are denied access to a safe and legal service which they might need. For low-income women, banning access essentially denies them the ability to receive a safe, legal abortion.

Taking away insurance coverage does not reduce the number of abortions - but it does create additional barriers to abortion and moves the procedure into a marginalized system away from medical and insurance oversight. Many women need abortion services when a wanted pregnancy goes horribly wrong - banning access to coverage in the exchanges would prevent them from receiving medically needed services.

Please call members of the Banking and Insurance Committee this morning and ask them to vote no on SB 3.

Thank you to Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates and Raising Women's Voices of Southeastern Pennsylvania for providing important information used in this alert.

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