October 12, 2016 — In an opinion piece for the Seattle Times/Sacramento Bee, Nicole Brodeur highlights the work of The CAIR Project, a Washington not-for-profit abortion care fund, to spotlight the financial barriers to abortion access in the United States.
According to Brodeur, "In the last four years, the number of grants made by The CAIR Project -- helping to pay for abortions and surrounding costs -- has almost doubled," increasing from 299 grants in 2012 to an estimated 550 in 2016.
This increase does not stem from an increase in the number of abortions, Brodeur writes, "but because women are learning that their private-insurance deductibles are too high, their military insurance withholds coverage, or they have no insurance at all." She states, "So it's no wonder that an increasing number of people are turning to The CAIR Project -- strangers, in other words -- to help fund their abortions."
Brodeur highlights an interaction she had with a CAIR client, a mother of one whose income was too high for Medicaid but insufficient for private insurance. After experiencing an unintended pregnancy, the woman was able to fund about three-quarters of the cost of abortion care and sought help with CAIR to cover the remaining costs. According to Brodeur, she and the woman talked "a lot about access to safe and legal abortion, but that access includes being able to pay for it."
Brodeur states, "Projects like The CAIR Project get around financial barriers like the Hyde Amendment, a now-40-year-old federal policy that stripped abortion coverage out of Medicaid" except in very limited instances. While some states, such as Washington, have independently opted to include more abortion care coverage in their Medicaid programs, others -- such as "Idaho, which is within The CAIR Project's coverage area" -- do not, she writes. According to Brodeur, "Some [liberal lawmakers] are now seeking to have the Hyde Amendment repealed, saying it is discriminatory to low-income women [who rely on Medicaid], and those on federally funded health plans."
A woman who experiences an unintended pregnancy "should be able to have a safe and legal abortion without having to ask strangers for help," Brodeur writes, concluding, "A right without access is no right at all" (Brodeur, Seattle Times/Sacramento Bee, 10/11).