Arizona limits abortion coverage in health care exchanges

Arizona, where you can carry a concealed weapon without a permit and racial profiling is the law of the land, is the first state in the U.S. to severely limit abortion coverage in the state-run health care exchange.

On Saturday, “at the Center for Arizona Policy Family dinner before 1600 guests,” Brewer signed SB 1305, the first-in-the nation bill that would prohibit insurers in the state-run health care exchange “from providing coverage for abortions unless the coverage is offered as a separate optional rider for which an additional insurance premium is charged.”

The new Arizona law is a radical mini Stupak. It prevents insurers from offering abortion services, except under the most extreme circumstances, even if only private money were used to pay for those services. Most if not all women in the exchange would only be able to purchase coverage through an impractical, separate abortion “rider” or leave the exchange entirely and find coverage in the shrinking individual health insurance market. Since it’s unlikely that many insurers will offer abortion riders or that women will purchase them in anticipation of needing an abortion — in fact, “in the five states where abortion riders are currently required, no insurance company offers them” — the Arizona law will severely disadvantage poorer women who would likely have to pay out of pocket for abortion services.

Health care reform opened up the possibility for states to ban all abortion coverage in the exchanges, and other states are already working to follow Arizona’s lead. Governor Brewer just gets to add being the first to severely restrict access to safe and legal abortion in this manner to the list of other hateful and dangerous laws she’s signed recently.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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  • Auriane

    When I was poor and didn’t have any health insurance, I received all of my ob-gyn care at Planned Parenthood. PP — along with other private womens’ clinics — are a great way of getting around this stupid law.
    http://www.plannedparenthood.org/ppaz/
    Here’s a list of other clinics as well:
    http://www.gynpages.com/

  • smiley

    I am puzzled. Nothing in the OP leads me to believe that abortion will be harder to come by; only that that an additional premium will be charged.
    Now, it could be argued that pregnancy is not disease or an illness (not a bad argument in itself). (Some pregnancies are, but that is not what the argument is about.)
    Consequently, is it really unreasonable that an extra payment is required if that coverage is desired? Is it? Is such a requirement an ‘extreme circumstance’?
    I am not shocked that different levels of insurance premiums exist, based on the purchaser’s desires: nicer room? pay a premium. you want dental coverage? pay up. Oh, you would like to be covered outside the country? certainly – but it will cost you more. And so on. (It actually works both ways: non-smokers get reductions.)
    I am not particularly shocked that abortion coverage should be optional.

  • Sadie

    Insurance coverage is just terrible to begin with. These types of laws just put the icing on the cake.

  • allegra

    Does Arizona think it’s competing to win the Biggest Conservative Douchebag State of the Year award, or what? ‘Cause they can stop like any time now.

  • apricoco

    Today in Florida, this happened: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/florida/sfl-florida-senate-abortions-ultrasounds,0,3941908.story
    Without any warning… Like right out of the blue..