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.