Federal Bill Would Slash Abortion Access for Low-Income Women in 17 States
In case this goes unnoticed while everyone is proclaiming that there is no war on women, I thought I'd make a note of it:
Rep. Todd Rokita's (R-Ind.) State Health Flexibility Act, also known as HR 4160, contains a provision that would force 17 states, including California, Massachusetts, and New York, to either discontinue programs that help low-income women pay for abortions, or spend a lot more money to purchase new insurance plans for those women. Thirty House Republicans have signed onto Rokita's proposal since it was introduced in March*, and the Republican Study Committee, a group of conservatives that includes over 70 percent of the GOP caucus, made HR 4160 part of its official budget plan.
If passed, the bill "would block the only avenue left to states that wish to make safe and legal abortions accessible to low income women," says Sara Rosenbaum, a health law expert at George Washington University.
I'll never understand why these people are so insistent that poor women have children they don't want and can't afford.
But never fear, it's also an assault on poor, sick people in general:
Rokita's bill, like the House Republican budget drafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), would shift the system to a block grant model, under which states would receive fixed quarterly grants from Washington and have the freedom to set up low-income health care programs largely as they wished. There would be little in the way of minimum standards, the value of federal funding would decline dramatically over time, and states would be free to boot millions of people from their Medicaid rolls.
But lest you think this is just a case of states' rights Republicans honoring their principles, well:
The Republican measure would give states more say over how they spend Medicaid funds, but it forbids them from covering abortions, even with state money—unless they purchase separate abortion-only plans or buy plans that include abortion coverage entirely with state funds. Either option could potentially cost these states millions of dollars.**
The one thing in the world the federal government does have a say over besides foreign policy is a woman's uterus.
And you can see the result of the hideous Obamacare abortion fight in this. The Hyde Amendment already holds that federal Medicaid money cannot be spent for abortion.This new provision takes it to the next level and says that no Medicaid dollar can touch a state dollar that might be used to pay for abortions for poor women. It's modeled on that fabulous Stupak compromise --- our new baseline.
Obviously, this bill will not become law any time soon unless Mitt Romney becomes president. But they won't give up. It's a new goal, heavily backed by the radical freakshow they call the "Republican Study Committee." They'll stay with it.