I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
N.M. Religious Coalition for Choice fights back on health care reform
Abortion has become a major issue dividing Democratic leadership from Republicans and conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats as they debate health care reform, and now one Albuquerque group is pushing back. The New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice is urging supporters to contact U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman and tell him to fight against efforts to restrict existing coverage of abortion services.
Opponents of those efforts say it could result in families losing coverage that already exists.
The NMRCC sent out an e-mail this week that read in part:
Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee are pushing for language in health care reform that would eliminate coverage for abortion services. If this happens, many insured women could lose coverage for abortion services that their private insurance currently includes. Plus, millions of uninsured women will still lack basic healthcare services despite having been promised a better life. Let there be no mistake, basic healthcare includes abortion services.
If these senators are allowed to deny coverage of abortion services, the burden will inevitably fall on low- income women and widen the huge gap in health status and access to healthcare services that reforms are meant to remedy. Compared to her higher income counterpart, a low income woman is four times as likely to have an unintended pregnancy and five times as likely to have an unintended birth.
Time Magazine covered this subject recently and explained some of the difficulties involved:
If an explicit ban on abortion coverage were imposed, say sources involved in writing the legislation on Capitol Hill, it could have much further-reaching implications than the Hyde Amendment ever did. It could, in fact, have the effect of denying abortion coverage to women who now receive it under their private insurance plans. Nearly 90 percent of insurers cover abortion procedures, according to a 2002 survey by the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit organization whose statistics are relied upon by both sides of the abortion debate.
Under the legislation being worked on by three committees in the House, Americans earning up to 400% of the poverty level — $43,000 for an individual; $88,000 for a family of four — would be eligible for government subsidies to help them purchase coverage. But if the antiabortion legislators get their way, those subsidies would have a big string attached; they could not be used to purchase a policy that has abortion coverage. For many women, that would mean giving up a benefit they now have under their private insurance policies. And it would raise all sorts of other questions if insurers were allowed to discriminate among their customers based on whether or not they are using federal dollars to pay for their policies.