EACH Woman Act Would Ensure Women Can Make the Best Decisions for Themselves & Families

WASHINGTON, D.C. March 12, 2019 – Planned Parenthood applauds the re-introduction of the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Woman Act in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Lee, Schakowsky, DeGette and the first-time introduction in the U.S. Senate, led by Senator Duckworth and a group of original co-sponsors including Senators Murray, Hirono, and Harris. The EACH Woman Act would help ensure women across the country can access abortion coverage, allowing them to make their own decisions about pregnancy at a time when the Trump-Pence administration is working to limit access to women’s health care services – including efforts to ban safe, legal abortion.

Statement from Dr. Leana Wen, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

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“Planned Parenthood is proud to support the EACH Woman Act with our partners and elected champions for reproductive rights and health care access. A woman’s access to reproductive health care is closely tied to her ability to control her own body and future. This groundbreaking legislation moves us closer to a reality where women can make their own decisions, in consultation with their doctors and their families,  without the interference of politicians.

“Politicians have set discriminatory, unjust standards that women with low incomes don’t deserve the same access, or dignity, to make personal decisions as women with private insurance. These policies have disproportionately impacted women of color, perpetuating systemic racism and deep disparities in health care. This bill works to right that wrong. Every woman deserves the right to pursue the life she wants, including the right to make her own medical decisions and decide whether or not to become a parent — no matter where she lives, where she works, how much money she earns, or how she is insured.”

Background

The vast majority of people in this country believe that women should make their own personal health care decisions, and they support the right to access abortion safely and legally, without interference from politicians. 73 percent of Americans — including a majority of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans — do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned. About one in four women in this country will have an abortion in her lifetime.

Many women must sacrifice necessities in order to pay for abortion. Studies indicate that many women are forced to divert money meant for rent, child care, utility bills, and food for themselves and their families to pay for an abortion.

Women of color are less likely to be able to access safe, legal abortion in the U.S. Systemic racism and discriminatory policies in this country have contributed to income inequality that makes Black people and Latinos in the U.S. more likely to use federally funded insurance, like Medicaid, to access health care — which, in a majority of states, is barred from covering abortion in almost all cases. Though rates of unintended pregnancies have dropped significantly overall in the last 30 years, women of color are still roughly twice as likely to experience an unintended pregnancy as White women. Women of color have proportionally more abortions than White, non-Hispanic women, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

The dangerous Hyde amendment, passed annually by Congress in federal appropriations legislation, bans federal funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment. The measure primarily restricts federal Medicaid coverage. Since the Hyde Amendment passed in 1976, anti-choice politicians have added abortion coverage and funding restrictions to appropriations language that limit access for:

  • Medicaid, Medicare and Children’s Health Insurance Program enrollees;
  • Federal employees and their dependents;
  • Peace Corps volunteers;
  • Native Americans;
  • Women in federal prisons and detention centers, including those detained for immigration purposes;
  • Low-income women in the District of Columbia.

Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives. www.ppfa.org