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Abortion Coverage Ban Would Harm Texas Women

Once again, Texas politicians are trying to make it harder for women to access abortion. Today, the Texas House State Affairs Committee will hear testimony regarding HB 3130 which would prohibit health insurance plans sold in the marketplace from covering abortion, except when a woman’s life is in danger or to prevent “irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, other than a psychological or emotional condition.” 

This overly narrow exception ignores the real circumstances women face when deciding whether or not to continue a pregnancy. By denying women coverage for abortion, the bill cruelly punishes women by making it harder for them to access this needed health care service and will disproportionately harm lower-income women who may be unable to afford an abortion without insurance coverage.    Read more »

The One Mississippi Abortion Clinic Stays Open, But…

Good news - the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit just refused to reconsider a panel’s earlier decision to block a Mississippi law that would have closed the state’s only abortion clinic. The law required abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital and was meant to — and would have — forced the sole clinic in the state to shut its doors. But the panel said the law went too far and was unconstitutional — the full court’s decision not to rehear the case means that the clinic stays open. This is great news for Mississippi women who will continue to have access to abortion in their state.

But…. Read more »

U.S. Supreme Court Turns Down Opportunity to Stand Up for Texas Women

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a devastating ruling Tuesday in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Abbott, refusing to block a law that is forcing one-third of Texas’ abortion clinics to stop offering vital services.

Back in July of 2013, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed into law H.B. 2, which, among other things, requires abortion providers to obtain unnecessary admitting privileges at local hospitals. Almost immediately, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the American Civil Liberties Union joined forces with a local Texas firm and filed a lawsuit on behalf of more than a dozen Texas health care providers and their patients.

The district court judge found the restriction both unconstitutional and unnecessary and prevented the restriction from going into effect. His ruling was a clear victory for Texas families, yet was almost immediately reversed by a three-judge panel from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which decided that decreasing the number of physicians available to perform abortions and increasing the cost of abortions was not an “undue burden” on the women of Texas, and allowed the law to remain in effect while the matter is fully litigated in the courts. Read more »

Forward Progress on Accepting Federal Funds to Cover More People in Medicaid

Last night’s election results are in and it’s a game changer for women and families in Virginia. Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe made the state’s choice of whether or not to cover more people in the Medicaid program a central component of his platform and, last night, the effort to provide coverage for hard-working low-income Virginians just got a burst of momentum with a champion headed to the Governor’s office.

The Medicaid eligibility expansion is a crucial part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—and is a main component of the ACA’s strategy for achieving near-universal health coverage. States may accept federal funding to expand coverage through Medicaid to all qualified individuals under age 65 who have incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty line (FPL), or about $32,500 for a family of four. Approximately 15 million uninsured Americans, including 7 million women, will be newly eligible for health coverage through Medicaid. Read more »

Texas Abortion Bill Sparks Outrage

On Friday, the Texas Senate passed sweeping anti-abortion restrictions, that unconstitutionally ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and will unnecessary require abortion clinics to meet the standards set for hospital style-surgical centers, among other provisions. The bill now awaits Gov. Rick Perry’s signature. Once signed, it will force most of Texas’ 42 abortion clinics to close. This is certainly a sad day for women’s health. Read more »

How Texas Lawmakers Tried to Pass A Sweeping Anti-Abortion Bill – And Failed

Governor Rick Perry has called for yet another special session in an attempt to pass a sweeping abortion ban. In his words, because "Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn." What we’ve seen from Texas in the last week shows just the opposite: that Texans value a woman’s personal decisionmaking and don’t want politicians interfering. In light of his decision to try again to effectively outlaw abortion in Texas, it’s worth looking back on how concerned lawmakers and citizens were able to stop him so far. Read more »

Texans Stand Up for Women's Health

Congratulations to Texas lawmakers who stood up for women's health! State Senator Wendy Davis staged a 13 hour filibuster to stop legislation that would have effectively banned abortion in Texas. She was supported by other lawmakers, as well as hundreds of concerned citizens. They are a true lesson in democracy. When anti-abortion Texas legislators tried to subvert the democratic process and ram through a bill that would close clinics and take away women's access to abortion in Texas, these supporters of women's health stepped up. They turned their outrage into action, stopped a terrible bill from moving forward, and inspired a nation

While this victory in Texas is important to celebrate, there are two notes of caution. First, the fight in Texas might not be over. There could be another special session of the legislature, in which anti-abortion legislators try again to effectively ban abortion in the state. We must continue to stand with Texas women. 

Second, we must also remember that women in other states haven't fared so well this legislative session. Read more »

Abortion Opponents are Not Giving Up on Taking Benefits Away from Women

Oh no he didn’t! Virginia Governor McDonnell Monday night added a ban on insurance coverage of abortion to a health care bill passed by the Virginia legislature. The underlying bill was meant to bring the state into compliance with the federal health care law – in other words, to help ensure affordable and comprehensive coverage for people, not take benefits away. But that’s exactly what Governor McDonnell’s amendment would do. And he’s not the only one.

Abortion insurance coverage bans have been introduced so far this year in at least 10 states. Some of these states are already among the 21 states that have such bans. But this year abortion opponents in those states want to prohibit even more women from obtaining abortion insurance coverage. Like Alabama, where a bill has been introduced to expand their exchange ban to all private plans and to take coverage away from survivors of rape and incest. Read more »

In Texas, Tax Breaks for Employers Who Refuse to Provide Contraceptive Coverage

Lately, it seems that Texas lawmakers can’t pass up any opportunity to deny women health care. In 2011, they cut funding for birth control services by two-thirds, forcing 53 clinics that provided those services to close. Then, they turned down $30 million in federal money that would have provided contraception and cancer screening to low income women, rather than allow Planned Parenthood to participate in the program. And now, a representative in the Texas House has proposed a bill that would give a tax break to companies that refuse to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees. Read more »