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Statement of Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation (NAF) on the introduction of the EACH Woman Act:
I applaud Representatives Lee, Schakowsky, DeGette, and all of the co-sponsors for introducing the EACH Woman Act and taking a bold step in proactively opposing the Hyde Amendment and related abortion coverage bans.
For too long, policies like the Hyde Amendment and state insurance bans have withheld coverage for safe, legal abortion care. It’s unconscionable that we have allowed politicians to take away some women’s decisions just because of where they live or their income level. The EACH Woman Act would ensure health coverage for abortion for every woman no matter what type of insurance she has, where she lives, or how much money she has.
The NAF Hotline hears from nearly 5,000 women each week who are desperate to make the best decisions for themselves and their families, but frequently cannot—because of law, because of circumstances, and because of the decisions of politicians who think they know better. Many of these women are forced to delay accessing the abortion care they need due to existing funding bans.
This bill will help women like:
Kendra L., Missouri: Kendra and her boyfriend were on their way to becoming parents for the second time when they found out their fetus had a serious anomaly. After deciding an abortion was the right choice for their family, Kendra and her boyfriend began trying to gather enough resources to afford the procedure. Both Kendra and her boyfriend had jobs, but between regular bills and caring for their other child, they didn’t have any savings or extra income to pay for the procedure. Even though Kendra was on Medicaid, it would not help cover any part of her procedure. Kendra and her boyfriend were turned down for a loan so they tried borrowing money from their parents and friends, but were not able to come up with enough to cover her abortion care. Fortunately, with help from the NAF Hotline and another fund, Kendra was able to obtain the abortion care she needed.
Reeda W., Virginia: Reeda is a working mother of two. Unfortunately, even though Reeda decided an abortion was the right choice for herself and her family, Reeda’s Medicaid would not cover her abortion care. Reeda began trying to gather enough resources to pay for her procedure, but even with borrowing from her sister, selling what she could, and having someone else pay for her transportation, she did not have enough money. The NAF Hotline was able to help cover the cost of the procedure, but because the nearest abortion provider was more than 150 miles away, Reeda still had to find a way to pay for childcare during her procedure and a hotel. At the last minute, Reeda was able to borrow money from a family member in order to travel and obtain the care she needed and had been trying to obtain.
Chari W., Tennessee: Chari was a full-time college student on scholarship when she found out she was pregnant. Chari was working, but she was living paycheck-to-paycheck and didn’t have any savings or credit cards. Even though she had Medicaid, it wouldn’t cover abortion care. She tried to see if her school offered an emergency student medical loan, but that turned out to not be an option. When Chari called the NAF Hotline for help, she found out the nearest provider where she could obtain the care she needed was almost 200 miles away and had a 24-hour waiting period. Even after borrowing money from friends and family, Chari still did not have enough money to cover the travel and procedure costs—even with a free hotel room thanks to a friend whose mom works for a hotel chain. Fortunately, with help from the NAF Hotline and another fund, Chari was finally able to obtain the abortion care she needed.
Instead of passing dangerous and extreme bans on abortion care, it’s time for Congress to lift the restrictions on abortion coverage so women can make decisions that are best for themselves and their families regardless of their income. Private medical decisions should be made by women with their medical care providers and those they trust. Government interference that prevents women from acting on those decisions must end.
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NAF is the professional association of abortion providers. Our members include private and non-profit clinics, Planned Parenthood affiliates, women’s health centers, physicians’ offices, and hospitals who together care for more than half the women who choose abortion in the U.S. and Canada each year. Our members also include public hospitals and both public and private clinics in Mexico City and private clinics in Colombia.