Editor: Decisions about whether to choose adoption, seek abortion or become a parent are better left to each person in consultation with those they trust, but the fact is that there are laws throughout the country that take that right and very personal decision away. That’s why I am excited to see the re-introduction of the federal Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA). It is an important first step to work towards a future where all of us are free to make the personal decisions that shape our lives, our futures, and our families, without political interference.
We must urge swift action on this policy and also look at how we can ensure access here at home. I have read stories about people being told their insurance won’t cover their abortion and they have to ask friends and family for money. They forego paying rent. People have tried to sell their car or used grocery money. We have a policy here in Colorado that denies health coverage for abortion if they use Medicaid to get their healthcare. This essentially means that we specifically withhold a health service from low-income people and risk pushing them even further into poverty.
Is that the kind of community we want to create – where people have to scramble and build up medical debt to get a health care procedure? I sure don’t. I believe that lawmakers have a role in figuring out how to deal with the big problems and more than ever in a time when people are struggling to make ends meet and Black and Brown people are hurt most of all, we need to do more to eliminate barriers to health services. I hope that Congress will pass the WHPA and I urge state lawmakers to do more to address the very real challenges that people continue to face to obtaining the full range of care they need, including abortion.
— Katherine Riley, via [email protected]