House Turns Its Back on Women and Families with the Fewest Resources
May 5, 2011
The following statement was issued by STEPHANIE POGGI, executive director of the NATIONAL NETWORK OF ABORTION FUNDS:
The National Network of Abortion Funds denounces the House vote to pass H.R. 3, “The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” on Wednesday May 4.
If enacted, this bill would have a devastating impact on millions of women and families. Every woman, whether she gets her health care through a safety-net program like Medicaid or private health insurance, deserves to make her own decision about whether and when to have a baby.
H.R. 3 would make permanent bans on federal funding of abortion, bans that Congress should eliminate in the interest of fairness and women’s health. “Every single day we talk to women who have been denied the ability to make their own decisions because of these bans on abortion coverage,” says Stephanie Poggi, Executive Director of the Network.
H.R. 3 reinforces health disparities by withholding abortion care from low-income women, women of color, and immigrant women. Because of racial inequalities in the United States, women of color are more likely to use Medicaid for their health care, and bear the burden of funding bans.
In addition to permanently banning the use of federal funds in Medicaid and other federal health programs, the bill would deny once again “home rule” to the District of Columbia to use its own money to pay for abortion care for women in need, prohibit abortion coverage in the new health care exchanges set to launch by 2014, and drive up the cost of health insurance by denying tax credits to individuals and small businesses that purchase insurance plans that include abortion coverage. The bill shows complete disregard for a woman’s health by denying funding even when continuing a pregnancy could lead to paralysis or interfere with cancer treatment.
The intent of H.R. 3 is to make abortion care even less accessible than it already is and to penalize those employers who want to provide this essential health coverage to their employees.
For Congress to target those women with the fewest resources, especially in this economy, is unconscionable. “Women are going hungry and risking eviction by using their rent money for an abortion,” explains Poggi. “Those are the real consequences when Congress turns its back on poor women. The right to make reproductive health decisions is essential for every woman, not just women who can afford to pay.”
The Network urges the Senate to reject this measure and to stand up with women and for fairness.
The National Network of Abortion Funds is a network of community-based abortion Funds across the U.S. and abroad. Last year, the Network and Funds directly assisted over 21,000 women who needed help to pay for their abortions. We also work to lift economic barriers to abortion at the state and federal level. Learn more at our website: www.fundabortionnow.org