Congress Makes Time to Make it Harder to Get an Abortion

The start of a new Congress is always a busy time.  It’s when they begin the work of setting the agenda for the next two years, so their first steps say a lot about what’s important to the folks in power. This year is no different. So what have members of Congress dedicated themselves to doing for the country? Later today, the House votes on H.R. 7, a bill intended to eliminate insurance coverage of abortion, so apparently first on the agenda is erecting barriers to abortion.
H.R. 7’s one goal—eliminate insurance coverage of abortion
If H.R. 7 were to become law, all women could lose insurance coverage that includes abortion. Already, policymakers deny abortion coverage from women who participate in federal insurance plans and health programs, like Medicaid or Peace Corps.  H.R. 7 would make these restrictions permanent, and would go after insurance coverage of abortion in the private market too. Among other things it would effectively ban insurers from offering abortion coverage in private plans and coerce small businesses to drop comprehensive health insurance that includes abortion.
Abortion coverage is a necessity, not a luxury
Abortion can be a costly procedure. The median cost for a first trimester abortion in the United States is $490. That number doesn’t include the indirect costs of an abortion such as transportation, child care, and lost wages—all of which can increase quickly for folks already navigating a host of abortion restrictions. Without insurance coverage, the costs for an abortion could be completely insurmountable, forcing some women to forgo an abortion altogether. For others, taking time to raise the necessary funds will force them to delay the procedure. Although abortion is an extremely safe procedure, both the risks and the costs increase with each week of pregnancy. Health insurance is specifically intended to protect individuals from this exact situation- risking their health because they cannot afford the price of care. Yet anti-abortion members of Congress seem set on denying women comprehensive insurance coverage and endangering their health.
H.R. 7 is only the beginning
By making it financially impossible for some people to get an abortion, H.R. 7 is the first step towards the ultimate goal of anti-abortion politicians in Congress—ban abortion altogether. In case this bill isn’t enough to persuade you, let’s look at some of the other bills they have already introduced this year: a bill that would ban abortion so early in pregnancy most people don’t even know they are pregnant; a so-called race- and sex- selective ban which plays off of offensive stereotypes; a 20 week ban; and a bill so extreme it would make abortion completely illegal. We will fight this coming onslaught, and step one is standing in opposition to H.R. 7 and supporting the millions that deserve abortion coverage.