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Texas Considers a Bill Banning Insurance Coverage of Abortion

Posted by Rachel Easter, Fellow | Posted on: May 26, 2015 at 10:20 am

Texans are a competitive group, but lately Texas politicians are seeking a record no one should want—the worst state for women. Right now, Texas is ranked among the six worst states for women but if Texas politicians have their way, it may soon be the worst. Thanks to budget cuts and abortion restrictions, Texans already have a hard time accessing reproductive health care—from cervical cancer screenings to abortion. Now, the Texas House is set to vote on SB 575, an extreme coverage ban that would prevent all private insurance plans in the state from providing coverage of abortion as part of a comprehensive health plan. If this bill passes it will make it even harder for women in Texas to get an abortion.

Imposing Financial Barriers that Endanger Women’s Health

Currently, insurance companies in Texas can cover abortion as part of a comprehensive insurance plan. In the absence of any ban, most private plans do provide coverage. But SB 575 will take that coverage away from many women and leave them to shoulder the cost of abortion alone.

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I Know All About The ACA’s Breastfeeding Benefit, and I Couldn’t Get Services Covered

Posted by Anna Benyo, Senior Health Policy Analyst | Posted on: May 26, 2015 at 10:00 am

Last week, the National Women’s Law Center issued the third report in a series examining insurance plan compliance with the Affordable Care Act, State of Breastfeeding Coverage: Health Plan Violations of the Affordable Care Act. Previous reports on women’s health coverage and birth control coverage found extensive violations of the law. The third report examines insurance plan noncompliance with the ACA’s breastfeeding benefits and comes to similar conclusions.

The ACA Is a Huge Step Forward

The ACA made dramatic improvements in women’s health coverage. The ACA ensures that health insurance companies can no longer discriminate against women, and requires plans to offer women coverage for maternity care and prescription drugs. And they must cover preventive services, such as breastfeeding supports and supplies and birth control, without any copayments, deductibles or coinsurance.

Health Insurance Plans Must Comply With the Law

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Religious Refusal Laws Threaten Access to Health Care

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: May 22, 2015 at 04:22 pm

This post is cross-posted from AIDS United

In 2011, Joao Simoes, a gay HIV positive man was denied HIV medication by a doctor who, according to Simoes, stated, “This is what he gets for going against God’s will.” Unfortunately, Simoes’s experience was far from unique. Almost 20% of HIV-positive individuals report being denied health care.

Refusals to provide care can threaten not only an individual’s health but public health as well by contributing to the spread of HIV. Perhaps as important, a refusal, or the fear of being refused care, can lead people living with HIV to distrust health care workers. This fear can discourage people from disclosing personal information that might be essential to their care and lead people to avoid the health care system all together or to delay getting necessary care.

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Texas Activist Speaks About Proposed Abortion Restrictions

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: May 21, 2015 at 02:10 pm

In Texas, a new bill would make it even harder for pregnant minors to get an abortion by adding extra barriers to an already burdensome process. In the following blog post, Emily Rooke-Ley from Jane's Due Process, an organization that provides legal representation to  pregnant minors in Texas, tells us first-hand how these unnecessary and dangerous hoops would harm Texas adolescents:

Texas Legislators Are Putting Pregnant Teens in Harm's Way

by Emily Rooke-Ley, cross-posted from RH Reality Check

I remember my first time answering the hotline for Jane’s Due Process, a nonprofit organization that provides legal representation for pregnant minors in Texas. Holding back tears, I listened anxiously to a young woman, whom I will call Gaby, explain her home life and her pregnancy, asking me to help her obtain a judicial bypass, which would allow her to obtain an abortion without a parent or guardian’s consent. She was just as mature as I am—probably more. “Well the thing is,” she said to me, her voice exuding a kind of tough conviction, “I just can’t bring a baby into this world right now.” 

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Women and the Minimum Wage State by State

Today NWLC released new analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 data, featuring an interactive map that shows the share of minimum wage workers in each state who are women, tracks state-level developments in minimum wage legislation, and highlights data on the minimum wage and the wage gap in a state-by-state chart.

Here are some of the top highlights from the new data:

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Surprise! Slashing Funding Limits Reproductive Health Care Access

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: May 18, 2015 at 04:03 pm

The Texas Evaluation Policy project released a new study [PDF] finding that many Texas women struggle to access and pay for reproductive health care, including cervical cancer screening and birth control. The researchers looked at women’s access to reproductive health care, beginning in 2011 when the Texas legislature slashed state funding for family planning and rejected federal funding for the women’s health program. Since 2011, 76 women’s health clinics have closed, leaving many women without nearby care.

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Good News for Military Servicemembers Who Use Birth Control

Posted by Leila Abolfazli, Senior Counsel | Posted on: May 15, 2015 at 03:33 pm

The House of Representatives and Senate are currently working on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a bill that provides funds for the military. The bill includes provisions that support the health care needs for members of the Armed Services and their dependents.

This year, the House and Senate versions of the bill include provisions that would improve women servicemembers’ access to birth control. It provides for comprehensive counseling and education about contraception. And, the House bill would ensure a woman servicemember has access to the birth control she needs at all times, particularly when she is deployed.

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Another Week, Another Bad Vote on Women's Health

Posted by Leila Abolfazli, Senior Counsel | Posted on: May 14, 2015 at 10:44 am

Back in January of this year, the House of Representatives was all set to vote on H.R. 36, a nationwide ban on abortions at twenty weeks. But a slight hiccup forced them to abandon the bill and instead vote on another really bad bill that would ban virtually all insurance coverage of abortion.

What was the hiccup, you ask? Did they realize that women have a constitutional right to abortion and H.R. 36 would violate that right? Or did they suddenly wake up, remember they aren't medical experts and conclude that they shouldn't meddle with such private, reproductive health decisions?

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