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Home / News / Medicaid-funded abortion bill — matched only by one state — up for public hearing | Health

Medicaid-funded abortion bill — matched only by one state — up for public hearing | Health

A public hearing on a proposed ban of most Medicaid-funded abortions might be held Monday morning.

In 2017, a single lady making up to about $17,000 a yr — 150 % of the federal poverty degree — in West Virginia was eligible for a Medicaid-funded abortion based mostly on medical necessity. House Bill 4012 goals to stop Medicaid dollars from being spent on any abortions in West Virginia, besides to save lots of the lifetime of the mom.

Only South Dakota has similar legislation, which is stricter than the federal Hyde Amendment.

The Hyde Amendment prevents federal dollars from being spent on abortions, besides to save lots of the lifetime of the mom or in instances of rape or incest. During dialogue of the bill throughout a House of Delegates health committee assembly final month, committee members denied a movement by Delegate Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha, so as to add exceptions for rape and incest.

Delegate Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, additionally requested a collection of questions, to which an lawyer for the committee responded that women who’re suicidal, women whose docs say they’re psychologically or emotionally unready for a toddler and women who’re hooked on medicine would additionally not be eligible.

“While this bill would not prohibit a woman from obtaining an abortion, it will limit the amount of tax dollars that fund a procedure many West Virginians have a moral and conscientious objection to,” Delegate Kayla Kessinger, the bill’s lead sponsor, stated in an e mail. “Women in West Virginia, regardless of their socio-economic background, deserve better than abortion, and have many choices when it comes to pregnancy, including adoption, if they feel as though they are not prepared to be mothers.”

Kessinger, R-Fayette, additionally stated, “If women choose that motherhood is best for them and their child, the state and nonprofit organizations provide healthcare and benefits to women and their families.”

In 1993, the state Supreme Court overturned a state regulation banning Medicaid funding of abortion, ruling that Medicaid exclusions of abortion are unconstitutional. Then-Chief Justice Margaret Workman wrote in the opinion that the regulation “constitutes a discriminatory funding scheme which violates an indigent woman’s constitutional rights.” The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has not taken a aspect within the present debate, however sided with advocates for abortion rights on the time.

The bill would ban Medicaid funding of abortion by amending the definition of “medical services” in state regulation to exclude abortion. Bob Bastress, a constitutional regulation professor at West Virginia University who’s married to Fleischauer, stated the bill would nonetheless be unconstitutional, as a result of it “violates the principles set forth in the WV Supreme Court’s decision.”

Sharon Lewis, director of the Women’s Health Center in Charleston, remembers earlier than the state Supreme Court choice, though she wasn’t working in administration on the time. Lewis has labored on the clinic, the only supplier of abortions in West Virginia, for 29 years.

She recalled poor women utilizing lease, utility and grocery cash to pay for abortions. Some even drank motor oil to attempt to terminate pregnancies, she stated. She remembers wards at hospitals dedicated to botched abortions.

“Desperate women died,” Lewis stated. “They did what they needed to do and this, as it’s written, is a blatant effort to get rid of entry to protected abortion care for poor women, and it’s outrageous.

“Women ought to have the power to regulate their our bodies with out authorities interference, and poor women are as entitled to that as wealthy women.”

The West Virginia part of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists opposes the bill.

“Funding restrictions and restrictions that unduly single out abortion from other medical procedures have no basis in evidence,” the part wrote in a letter to health committee members. “They only serve to impede access to safe abortion care and, in some cases, function as a de facto abortion ban.”

It’s unclear what % of abortions within the state are paid for by Medicaid. The Kaiser Family Foundation studies that in 2013, there have been about 1,800 abortions within the state. DHHR officers didn’t reply to a number of requests for a newer complete.

DHHR stated that Medicaid paid for about 1,500 abortions final yr, at a price of $326,000. That’s up from 657 abortions in 2008, at a price of $222,000. West Virginia expanded its Medicaid program to cowl extra individuals, a results of the Affordable Care Act, in 2014.

“This bill will impose profound hardships for some of the most vulnerable West Virginia women, who already face significant barriers to accessing health care,” ACOG wrote.

Christina Mullins, director of the Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health at DHHR, spoke to the financial results of unintended pregnancies. Nearly half of pregnancies in West Virginia are unintended, in response to Mullins.

Women who grow to be moms because of unintended pregnancies are much less more likely to end highschool or school, extra more likely to be single moms, and have extra hassle paying for childcare and the bills of being pregnant, in response to Mullins. She stated DHHR’s packages, such because the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention program and its household planning packages at health departments and group health facilities, stress the significance of being prepared for being pregnant.

“It’s something we talk about every day,” she stated. “The economics of an unintended pregnancy can be devastating.”

West Virginia had the second highest price of nonelderly women in poverty within the nation in 2016, subsequent to Mississippi, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Mullins, addressing whether or not she’s seen some other states see success addressing the difficulty in a bipartisan method, pointed to Colorado. The Denver Post reported in November that the teenager start fee fell 54 % and the teenager abortion price fell 64 % in eight years, after spending $28 million to distribute IUDs for low-income women to health clinics and school-based health facilities at excessive faculties.

Researchers on the University of Colorado discovered the drop in pregnancies saved virtually $70 million in prices on state and federal help and health care packages for low-income moms, according to the report.

Delegate Amy Summers, R-Taylor, had stated through the health committee assembly that women looking for abortions might get funding from nonprofits. She confirmed later that she made the assertion however didn’t reply a request for an instance of such a nonprofit.

Kessinger, the sponsor, and Fleischauer stated they knew of no organizations that assisted with this; Lewis stated she knew of no substantial assets. Margaret Chapman Pomponio, of the women’s health and abortion rights advocacy group West Virginia Free, stated the group has about $15,000 for that objective.

The bill was despatched from the House health committee to House judiciary. Supporters and opponents of the bill might converse on the public hearing within the House of Delegates chamber at eight:30 am on Monday.


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