Keep Abortion Legal NOW Round

US House Attempting to Make the Hyde Amendment Permanent

NOW's Keep abortion legal round

The US House of Representative is expected to vote today on the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” aka known as HR 7 of 2017. Introduces on January 13, 2017, this fast-tracked bill attempts to block all women from accessing health insurance that covers abortion care.

The Feminist Majority posted information about this bill at 11:50 am ET this morning giving background to what this bill does and how it threatens women’s lives. I’m copying and pasting their blog for you to read.  Once you read this, contact your US Representative and tell him/her to vote no on this very dangerous bill that would make the Hyde Amendment permanent.

House Expected to Vote on Major Abortion Restriction

by on • 11:50 AM

Today the House is expected to vote on H.R. 7, known as the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, a bill that would attempt to block all women from accessing health insurance that covers abortion care. It is a sweeping piece of legislation that touches on a number of anti-abortion policies.

H.R. 7 would make permanent the federal abortion funding restrictions, known as the Hyde Amendment, which Congress typically includes in the annual appropriations bill. The Hyde Amendment denies abortion coverage to the over 28 million women who receive their health insurance through federal programs, such as federal employees, Native Americans, veterans, federal prisoners, and the largest targeted group of reproductive age, low-income individuals on Medicaid.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, nearly 1 in 6 women of reproductive age are enrolled in Medicaid. Of these women, 60 percent live in a state that forbids Medicaid coverage of abortion, meaning they have to pay an average of over $350 out of pocket to access an abortion. The substantial burden forces one in four poor women who wish to terminate an unwanted pregnancy to carry to term.

H.R. 7 would also codify the Helms Amendment, which bans any international organization from using United States’ funds to provide abortion as a “method of family planning,” and has been interpreted to prevent funding even in cases of rape, incest and life endangerment. Under H.R. 7, the United States, the largest aid donor in the world, would permanently deny survivors of war rape access to abortion.

The routine use of rape as a tool of war has been documented in conflicts around the world, from South Sudan to Syria to Nigeria, and constitutes a form of torture. According to the Global Justice Center, 40,000 women and girls are raped in conflict each year, but many more have suffered during specific conflicts. At least 50 percent of survivors are under the age of 18, but in some areas, up to 80 percent of those targeted are children, and many are very young adolescents. The risk of maternal death for girls aged 15 years and younger is twice that of an adult, and these young victims have higher rates of injury, infection or disease related to pregnancy and childbirth. Therefore, for girls raped in conflict, the ability to access abortion has life or death consequences.

Another large group of women who would have their rights to abortion covered health insurance restricted are women who purchase health insurance through the marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Under H.R. 7, women who purchased insurance that covered abortion care would not be eligible for tax subsidies. 25 states have already enacted laws that forbid the selling of abortion care in the ACA marketplace. In addition, small businesses that choose health insurance plans that cover abortion would be denied the insurance-related tax credits that apply to small businesses.

Advocates of abortion access fear that eliminating tax subsidies and implementing strict regulations will push insurance companies to stop covering abortion for all women, as they are unlikely to offer a product that so many are effectively barred from purchasing.

H.R. 7 stands in direct opposition to the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act that was introduced in Congress in 2015. The EACH Woman Act would restore abortion insurance coverage to all women affected by the Hyde Amendment, as well as prohibit federal, state and local governments from passing laws that restrict private health insurance companies from offering abortion care, as has been done in 25 states.

President Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, is one of the staunchest opponents of the ACA and abortion and contraception access, opposing private health insurance coverage for abortion, voting to defund Planned Parenthood and co-sponsoring legislation to outlaw abortion, stem cell research, some forms on contraception and in vitro fertilization.

When asked in 2012 what he would say to low-income women who couldn’t afford birth control if it wasn’t covered by their health insurance, he replied, “Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me one. There’s not one. The fact of the matter is, this is a trampling of religious freedom and religious liberty in this country.”

The House has promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act, defund Planned Parenthood, and introduce other anti-abortion measures. Feminist Majority Foundation has a campaign to support the Each Woman Act.

Media Resources: Mother Jones 1/23/17; Feminist Majority Foundation 9/26/16, 8/12/16, 9/28/16, 1/6/17, 1/19/17; Guttmacher Institute 4/9/16;”

Now that you’ve read what’s going one,  contact your US Representative and tell him/her to vote no on this very dangerous bill that makes the Hyde Amendment permanent.

Here’s a sample script from the Women’s Medical Fund in Philadelphia. You can use your own words or do something like this to express your outrage at government interference with your personal medical decisions:


Please tell [REPRESENTATIVE NAME] to vote NO on HR 7! Bans on abortion coverage like H.R.7 interfere with a woman’s ability to make her own decision about pregnancy and parenting.

Regardless of how we access insurance coverage, each of us should be able to live, work, and make decisions about our future, with dignity and without political interference.

Thank you.”

Then once you’ve made your call, send an email to your representative. All Above All has an easy link with basically the same message for you to send.

Call AND write today!

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New Federal Guidelines On Pregnancy Discrimination Align with Pregnancy Discrimination Act

I received an email today from Pennsylvanians for Choice. They requested that we publicize a news article from the Feminist Majority.  It is an article that summarizes new federal guidelines on pregnancy discrimination law related to women’s employment.  Here it is:

Picture of woman talking to her employer about work expectations

Women and Employment

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its pregnancy discrimination guidelines this week for the first time in over 30 years. The new language reiterates the policies outlined in the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and classifies discrimination against pregnant employees as a form of sex discrimination.

The guidelines were approved 3-2 Monday. The guidelines make it clear that an employer cannot discriminate against a worker based on pregnancy, childbirth or any related medical condition. They also disallow discrimination against someone based on whether or not they have been pregnant in the past, or want to get pregnant in the future.

“Pregnancy is not a justification for excluding women from jobs that they are qualified to perform, and it cannot be a basis for denying employment or treating women less favorably than co-workers similar in their ability or inability to work,” EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien said in a press release this week. “Despite much progress, we continue to see a significant number of charges alleging pregnancy discrimination, and our investigations have revealed the persistence of overt pregnancy discrimination, as well as the emergence of more subtle discriminatory practices.”

In a Q-and-A section on the EEOC’s site about pregnancy discrimination, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act is explained as banning employers from firing, refusing to hire or demoting a woman if pregnancy, childbirth or any related condition was the reason for the action. The EEOC guidelines were released in part for those who may not have been aware of the cited federal laws, in order to make the requirements better understood and known.

“I think it will make a really big difference,” Joan C. Williams, a law professor whose work is cited in the EEOC’s new guidelines, told the Associated Press. “This is also the direction the courts have begun to go in, and that’s why the EEOC said, ‘Yeah, that makes sense.'”

Pregnancy discrimination complaints in the US increased by 71 percent between 1992 and 2011. Many women nationwide, especially those in low-income jobs, are forced to take unpaid leave or leave their jobs altogether during their pregnancy. Almost two-thirds of first-time mothers work while pregnant, including 90 percent of those mothers who work into their last two months of pregnancy. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, a piece of national legislation currently stalled in Congress, would update and strengthen the Pregnancy Discrimination Act to ensure that pregnant women are not denied necessary accommodations at work.

Media Resources: Associated Press 7/16/14; NPR 7/16/14; US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 7/14/14; Feminist Majority 10/31/13; Feminist Newswire 2/3/14

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