Choice News, Health Care Reform

Choice News: Health Care Reform Anniversary Edition

NARAL Pro-Choice Washington Marks the One Year Anniversary of the Passage of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA).
The National Women’s Law Center and the Center for American Progress have put together a series of fact sheets detailing the different ways ACA benefits women, including:

  • Employers must provide nursing mothers with a private and sanitary space to express breast milk at work as well as unpaid breaks.
  • Maternity and newborn care must be covered in all new health insurance plans sold to individuals and small groups/small businesses.
  • Pre-existing Conditions: Insurance companies can no longer claim that being a domestic violence victim/survivor or a breast/cervical cancer survivor as a reason for denying a woman health insurance coverage. And insurers can no longer reject any women applying for insurance coverage based upon the fact that she had a C-section.
  • One of the major ACA initiatives is to increase access to preventative health care for women, including mammograms and Pap smears.

Take Action in Support of Access to Health Care

Exactly one year ago today, President Obama signed historic health insurance reform into law. Since then, seniors are paying less for their prescriptions and care, kids are being covered by their parents’ health insurance, and children with pre-existing conditions can’t be denied insurance coverage.

But because of Attorney General Rob McKenna, all of this progress and more is at risk.

McKenna joined a lawsuit with other conservative Attorneys General seeking to overturn the entire law, including even the most basic reforms such as protections for those with pre-existing conditions. Rob McKenna is putting partisan politics above good policy by trying to drag us back to a broken health care system.

We’ve joined a strong coalition demanding that Attorney General McKenna immediately drop his lawsuit and stop playing politics with our health. Check out our new website and add your name to the petition demanding that McKenna drop his health care lawsuit.

Our pro-choice Governor Christine Gregoire filed a brief in federal court challenging McKenna’s involvement in the lawsuit, making it clear to the Court that McKenna’s participation “…doesn’t reflect the state of Washington’s position — and shouldn’t stand in the way of the law’s implementation.”

The Congressional War on Women
Unfortunately, ACA sets up bureaucratic hurdles for plans that cover abortion, which is a direct disincentive for insurance companies to offer any abortion coverage under ACA.

The House GOP is currently backing extreme legislative measures designed to phase out abortion coverage in all private insurance plans by eliminating all tax benefits employers receive if they provide abortion coverage in their health care plans for their employees. The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act introduced in the House in January is the most offensive and direct attack on abortion access in private insurance plans covered under ACA. Mother Jones reports that one of these measures could turn IRS agents in “abortion cops.”

An opinion piece in the Seattle Times illustrates how defunding Planned Parenthood clinics would affect Washington women and families.

Check out Antoinette Bonsignore’s post on the congressional attacks on women’s rights and health, and sign our petition to stop the War on Women.

Sexual Assault in the Military: Holding the Department of Defense Accountable
Last month a number of advocacy groups representing seventeen US veterans and military sexual assault victims filed a class action lawsuit against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and current Defense Secretary Robert Gates alleging civil rights violations for the Pentagon’s failure to investigate and prosecute rape and sexual assault cases that have reached epidemic numbers in the armed forces. You can find out more about the class action lawsuit and what you can do to help facilitate much needed reform in the way the military deals with this rape and sexual assault epidemic at the Service Women’s Action Network.

The GOP’s War on Women in the States
After the 2010 elections the GOP controlled more state legislatures and as a result those state legislatures have begun a steady onslaught of extreme anti-choice measures designed to restrict a woman’s access to abortion services. People for the American Way has put together a comprehensive series of fact sheets enumerating these measures around the country.

Rape Myths: Not Even Children Can Escape Being Blamed for Rape
Outrage erupted last week over a NY Times article regarding the gang rape of an 11 year old girl in Cleveland, Texas. Mother Jones, Ms. Magazine, Loop21.com, and other news outlets were shocked that the NY Times chose to focus only on how this heinous crime was going to destroy the lives of the alleged rapists and how “provocatively” the 11 year old girl was dressed. The Women’s Media Center posted a petition on their Facebook page demanding that the NY Times apologize for blaming an 11 year old child for her gang rape. Adding further fuel to the outrage, a state legislator from Florida introduced legislation last week mandating that young girls be dressed “appropriately” at schools in order to prevent them from being raped.  You can read more about the persistence of rape myths at the Women’s Media Center blog.

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