Center Denounces Obama Administration Policy Excluding Abortion Coverage from High-Risk Pools

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(PRESS RELEASE) The Center for Reproductive Rights President Nancy Northup issued a statement condemning the Obama administration's decision to exclude abortion coverage from the new high-risk insurance pools in the states.

"The White House yesterday went out of its way to propose denying necessary healthcare coverage to the most vulnerable American women. After the hard fought battle over abortion coverage in Congress, the White House proposal only adds insult to injury by imposing restrictions that reach beyond those agreed upon by lawmakers.

"The high-risk pools were designed as temporary coverage through 2014 for individuals who cannot afford insurance due to serious health problems. Now, women who join the high-risk pools will not be able to access abortion coverage, even when a pregnancy puts their health at further risk. Yet women in these pools are far more likely to have high-risk pregnancies and need expensive medical care.

"Contrary to assertions by the White House, there's no current legal basis for the policy. The executive order issued by the President on abortion only addressed rules for segregating funds for abortion coverage in the healthcare exchanges and limits on community health centers. The Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan policy similarly furnishes no legal basis for exclusions in the new high risk pools.

"The proposal would not even permit policyholders to use their own private dollars to purchase coverage, as the Nelson compromise allows, and instead applies a Stupak-type ban like the one rejected by Congress. Healthcare reform was a tightly bargained piece of legislation - and with this, the White House is threatening to renege on a fundamental part of its bargain with American women and families who truly need coverage. Excluding abortion coverage from the high-risk insurance pools was not part of the negotiations during healthcare reform, and nothing in the bill compels this result."