Editor: I was thrilled to hear that the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) is being heard in Congress this week. 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.
Now more than ever we need a society that leads with compassion and puts science and our families’ health, safety, and real-life needs first. As we’ve seen during this pandemic, people of color face more risks and bigger gaps when it comes to health care. The story is no different when it comes to abortion care. There are policies in place throughout the country that impose medically unnecessary restrictions or put up extra barriers for young people. This further exacerbate health disparities.
It is time to do more to eliminate barriers to health care and that includes abortion. Here in Colorado we have a policy that denies health coverage for abortion for people who use Medicaid. We know that women of color are overrepresented in low wage jobs and more likely to use our state Medicaid program to get their healthcare. This means our ban on Medicaid coverage falls hardest on women of color and takes away our right to make our own health decisions.
Time and again Colorado voters have affirmed that we support the right of each person to make their own decision about abortion, but we are allowing a policy to stand that tells people that if you have money or private coverage, you have a real right to abortion. But if you use a public program or if you can’t pay for it out of pocket, then your right isn’t real. I am urging our federal lawmakers to support the WHPA and state lawmakers to make a commitment to getting rid of harmful obstacles in our state statutes.
— Katherine Riley, via [email protected]