Corbett to Sign Bill Banning Abortion Coverage in Obamacare

From the moment after the 2010 elections, the Pennsylvania Republican dominated General Assembly has been hard at work to pass this worthless law that throws women to the wayside. It was literally the first bill passed out of committee in the Senate in 2011. That’s right. In an election that Republicans said was all about jobs and the economy, this and laws like it were their actual priority, along with gutting public education, giveaways to the natural gas industry and other laws that strand workers and families, and in general doing a whole lot of nothing.

Despite the fact that access to safe, legal abortion is essential healthcare for women, despite the fact that women are 50% of the population, and therefore 50% of their constituencies, the overwhelmingly male, Christian, white and Republican General Assembly of Pennsylvania has sent a bill to Governor Corbett, which he will sign, banning abortion coverage in the state insurance exchange, which will have the effect of making safe, legal abortion less available to women through private insurance than it already is. This on top of an absurd federal requirement already in place to force women to write a separate check to their insurers for abortion coverage. So a Pennsylvania woman, who is finally assured maternity coverage because of Obamacare (in a state that has always considered pregnancy a “pre-existing condition), will just be completely out of luck if something goes wrong with her pregnancy, which happens, and she can’t afford to pay out of pocket for an abortion. Abortion bans lead to misery, pain and death, as the case of Beatriz in El Salvador recently reminded the world. Haven’t we seen enough of that kind of misogyny and misery? Abortion bans have no place in the modern world.

The majority of abortions in the US – 90% – occur in the first trimester. For the majority of women seeking a later abortion, barriers to easy access and the costs are main reasons for delay. Delay drives women into their second trimester, costs go up and so there is more delay.

Fetal anomalies and health risks to the mother due to an untenable pregnancy are typically not detectable until later in the second trimester. For the sake of their own health, and often in consideration of their existing family, pregnant women with these issues must then have access to safe abortion, one that usually costs much more than a first trimester abortion. Six out of ten women seeking abortion at any stage are already mothers, already have families to care for. And, once again, finances and lack of access to family planning services are barriers to effective birth control in the first place.

Of course, most members of the General Assembly know this, but have used the horrific Gosnell case to push the “pro-life” agenda, which, as far as I can tell does not actually value life, but only the notion of birth. It is cynical pandering to people who believe this is a black and white issue due to their religious convictions. But politicians, people who have been presented with the facts over and over know better: Making abortion harder to get will only lead women who do not want to deliver babies to desperate acts. Laws like this create more Gosnells – and any legislator with average intelligence knows this, but cares more about the political calculation than the health and wellbeing of women. We desperately need a better class of clear-headed, practical, and compassionate lawmaker in Harrisburg!

The biggest lesson, one Pennsylvanians unfortunately have had to learn many times since the 2010 midterms is: VOTE EVERY SINGLE TIME!! This bill, the destruction of public education in this state, the ridiculously low fees (that took years to enact) on natural gas, not to mention DEP’s blind eye to water contamination, the attempts to amend our state constitution to enshrine bigotry & intolerance by defining marriage, as if that, like love, could possibly be defined by law—  families in PA would be a lot better off right now if rain didn’t keep people from voting!! Next time, don’t let it!

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