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Op-Ed: EACH Woman Act Gives Women Agency To Make Personal Health Decisions

Op-Ed: EACH Woman Act Gives Women Agency To Make Personal Health Decisions

July 29, 2015 — As the intake coordinator for the New Orleans Abortion Fund, "I see firsthand how women are impacted by some of the most detrimental restrictions that stand in the way of a decision to end a pregnancy," particularly in Louisiana, Marlo Barrera writes in an opinion piece for the Baton Rouge Advocate.

Barrera notes that, "[n]ationally, the 'Hyde Amendment' withholds abortion coverage from those who receive their health insurance or care through the federal government." She writes that in Louisiana specifically, "those enrolled and qualified for Medicaid and those with insurance through the health exchange are denied abortion coverage." Further, state lawmakers "spend an outrageous amount of time and resources putting barriers in the way of abortion under the guise of 'protecting women,'" such as a 24-hour mandatory delay law, she writes.

Barrera writes that she "was overjoyed when earlier this month three congresswomen introduced HR 2972, the EACH Woman Act, with the support of more than 80 congressional co-sponsors and 46 women's health, rights and justice advocacy organizations under the campaign All* Above All."

According to Barrera, "[t]he bill would ensure that every woman who receives health care or insurance through the federal government is provided with complete reproductive health care, including abortion care," and "prohibit politicians from interfering with decisions by private health insurance companies to provide this type of coverage in their health plans."

She writes, "I know that I am not alone in my support for this bill." She cites a national poll found that "broad swaths of the nation ... agree that the amount of money a woman has should not determine her access to health care and abortion services" and "that the value voters place on women being able to make vital, personal decisions outweighs the argument that abortion services should not be funded by taxpayer dollars."

"As individuals, it is our moral responsibility to combat the policies that harm members of our communities who are already marginalized," Barrera writes, concluding, "By ensuring full reproductive health access, the EACH Woman Act means every woman is able to make the important personal decisions that enable her to control her own destiny" (Barrera, Baton Rouge Advocate, 7/28).