The Women’s Health Protection Act: The Proactive Effort We Need
At the state level, anti-choice lawmakers have passed an unprecedented onslaught of anti-abortion laws and regulations that make it harder and harder for women to access care. Introduced in November of last year by pro-choice champions in the House and Senate, the Women’s Health Protection act would create Federal protections against TRAP laws and other anti-abortion laws. In July, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing on the harmful and growing trend of state abortion restrictions. NAF submitted testimony focused on these laws’ interference with standards of care, and included testimony from several NAF members affected by onerous restrictions.
Expansion of Coverage for Peace Corps Women
Since 1979, annual appropriations acts have restricted abortion coverage for Peace Corps Volunteers even in cases of rape, incest, or to save a woman’s life. This policy is not in line with other federal health insurance programs, many of which cover abortion care in these limited circumstances. NAF has worked tirelessly at the federal level to bring equity in coverage to the Peace Corps. This year, for the first time, lawmakers included this fix in both the House and Senate versions of appropriations bills.
Educating Policymakers on the Impact of the Hyde Amendment
The Hyde amendment’s impact is staggering. Since 1976, it has prohibited the federal funding of most abortion care. The National Abortion Federation hears from women every day who want to make the best decision for themselves and their families, but are denied that autonomy because of this harmful measure. Funding restrictions are a huge barrier for women’s access to abortion care. NAF works with a broad coalition of providers and advocacy organizations to educate lawmakers on the consequences of Hyde on low-income women and families, and its disproportionate impact on women of color.
Fighting a Harmful Federal Abortion Ban
The 113th Congress has taken unprecedented steps in restricting women’s access to abortion care by working to pass a nationwide ban that would criminalize abortion care after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Last year, the House passed their ban with bill H.R. 1797, and Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) followed up by introducing a Senate version. The bill makes it a federal crime to provide abortion care to women after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Lawmakers cannot know the circumstances of every pregnancy, and this legislation is an extreme intrusion into the relationship between a woman and her health care provider. NAF played a vital role in educating lawmakers. NAF Patient Christy Zink provided powerful testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, and NAF’s patient stories were shared on the House floor during a vigorous debate on the bill.
House Anti‐Choice Members Show Where Their Priorities Lie
H.R. 7 was one of the first actions the House took in 2014, aimed purely at restricting women’s access to abortion care. Rep. Chris Smith’s bill would permanently deny coverage for abortion care to women who rely on the federal government for their insurance coverage – including Medicaid recipients, women in the military, women in the Peace Corps, and federal employees. Beyond that, it would likely have the effect of eliminating private insurance coverage of abortion care through a radical rewriting of the tax laws. NAF submitted written testimony to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, which held a hearing on this extreme bill during the first week of 2014.