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GiveBIG on May 5 and Protect Access to Safe, Legal Abortion

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GiveBIG on May 5 and have your donation go even further. Here’s one more reason why. 

Emily and her husband Rob (not their real names) were looking forward to expanding their family, so they were thrilled when Emily became pregnant with twins. But after a difficult pregnancy, Emily’s doctor recommended that she have an abortion. Although they were devastated by the news, Emily and Rob took their doctor’s advice and chose to have an abortion.

Rob spoke with NARAL Pro-Choice Washington because he and Emily wanted to make sure others know about how the federal Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortion services, impacted their lives and made a difficult time even harder.

It’s pretty demeaning to have to justify your health care choices.”

“When my wife became pregnant with twins, we were excited and nervous,” Rob recalls. “We had been trying to have children for many years. The ultrasound at the end of the first
trimester showed that one of them had died. We knew that was always a risk but were grateful the second one was still alive.

Then, early in the second trimester, we had another ultrasound to measure the remaining fetus and found some abnormalities. As the pregnancy progressed, the fetus did not.  Another ultrasound found that the fetus, although alive, was regressing and had stopped growing.”

Emily and Rob went over their options with Emily’s obstetrician, but the prognoses were all bad. Carrying the pregnancy to term would pose serious health risks to Emily. A couple of days later, they made their decision.

“We were unbelievably sad. We went to counseling and spoke with our pastor,” says Rob. “We had nephews born. People had kids around us. It was a very hard time for us but we took solace in that the decision was the best for Emily. We started healing but the following fall, we began to hear from our insurance company saying they were not going to cover the procedure,” Rob recalls. “If things are up to the whim of politicians, what [else] can be taken away?”

Emily was insured under Rob’s employer, the federal government. Unknown to Emily and Rob, their insurance fell under the purview of the Hyde Amendment which applies to people on Medicaid and Medicare, those who are members of tribes, federal prisoners, Peace Corp volunteers, soldiers, and those like Rob who work as federal employees.

If health care decisions are up to politicians, what else can they take away?”

“So the insurance company demanded all the money back ($16,000). I spent hours and hours finding out the dispute process and how to fight the claim. It was then that I learned that it was not the insurance company’s policy but [Hyde].”

“I talked to [NARAL] and [they] helped me learn about the [Hyde Amendment] and how to fight it,” Rob continues. “It’s pretty demeaning to have to justify your health care to an insurance company. I spoke to people who were sympathetic, and to people who judged our decision and were unwilling to help. That is not what I expected.”

Luckily, Emily and Rob had an OB who advocated strongly on their behalf. Just a couple of weeks ago, their dispute with the insurance company finally ended with a ruling in their favor, fifteen months after they made their difficult decision.

“I can only imagine if we were not able to fight the system and spend the time working with our OB and the insurance company. In the end, we are fortunate to have the means to pay if we had to and the ability to fight. Many are not able to pay a single bill of $16,000.”

But many women and families aren’t so fortunate. Indeed, the point of Hyde is to erode abortion rights by making safe and legal abortions increasingly difficult to access.

Anti-choice politicians know exactly what they’re doing. They take away financial supports. They create waiting periods. They fight medically accurate information. They attack providers with onerous regulations intended to make the necessary, impossible. They force people like Emily and Rob to justify the health care decisions they make with their doctor.

“This is a legal piece of healthcare that is being singled out,” Rob says. “I don’t want people in the future to have to justify their health care.”

This is why Emily and Rob are telling their story. It’s why they made a gift to NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, and why they are asking you to do the same.  Next Tuesday, May 5th is GiveBIG—your chance to have your gift stretched to make an even greater impact in the lives of those like Emily and Rob.

Stand with Emily and Rob by:

Making a gift on May 5

Sharing on Facebook.

Tweeting about why you stand for choice!

Emailing your allies, and encouraging them to stand with you against those who seek to impose their beliefs on our choices, our bodies, and our lives.

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