UPDATE 4/25/17: House Bill 40 passed 62-55 in the Illinois House. The bill now moves on to the Senate. Learn more here.
Women Must Have Access to the Abortion Coverage They Need Regardless of the Source of Their Insurance
Did you know that as a result of discriminatory provisions in Illinois law, women can be denied coverage for essential health care if they are on Medicaid or receive insurance through a state employee plan?
Our Medicaid statute prohibits coverage for abortion except when a pregnant woman’s life is at risk. This is even more restrictive than the federal Hyde Amendment. Under a court order secured by the ACLU of Illinois, Illinois Medicaid is required to cover abortion care in other contexts (including rape, incest, and to preserve the health of the pregnant woman), but as a practical matter it denies claims for most abortions in these circumstances.
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All women should be able to get the care they need, regardless of the source of their insurance. Illinois Medicaid policy interferes with one of life’s most important decisions—whether and when to become a parent—by covering childbirth, but not abortion. A woman who is already struggling to make ends meet should not be coerced into a medical decision that isn’t right for her or her family. Yet after Illinois Medicaid stopped funding almost all abortion, one in four poor women seeking abortion were forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. And women should not be penalized for working for the state, yet women with state employee insurance plans are burdened with similar restrictions.
Restrictions on abortion coverage endanger women’s health. Women who need to end pregnancies should be able to do so as early as possible with licensed providers, but lack of insurance coverage leads to delays and other safety risks. These restrictions risk pushing women into poverty, and they have a disproportionate impact on low-income women, women of color, immigrant women, and young women. However we feel about abortion, politicians should not be allowed to deny a woman’s health coverage just because she is poor.
Politicians who want to ban abortion try to quietly accomplish their goal by reducing abortion access and manipulating women’s decisions. House Bill 40 removes restrictions that make it difficult for women enrolled in Medicaid to plan if and when to have children. That is good for them, and for society as a whole.
We Must Repeal Illinois’ Dangerous “Trigger” Law
House Bill 40 repeals a dangerous “trigger” provision in the Illinois Abortion Law. It confirms that abortion will remain legal in Illinois even if the US Supreme Court rolls back Roe v Wade.
When Illinois passed the Illinois Abortion Law in 1975, it included what is known as a “trigger” provision, which states that if the US Supreme Court ever overturns or modifies Roe v. Wade, Illinois will revert to its pre-Roe law that criminalized abortion.
With a Trump presidency, there is simply too much risk to keeping that language in our statutes. House Bill 40 removes the “trigger” language and affirms that Illinois has no intention of going back to the pre-Roe days of illegal abortion.
House Bill 40 is necessary to ensure that every woman in Illinois can make her own health care decisions and have access to safe medical care, regardless of what happens in Washington, D.C.