Trump Gets Sued by Six States Over Restrictive Abortion Policy

“This new rule is just another attempt to control women’s bodies,” said New York’s attorney general.

Protesters at a rally at the statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa, to protest recent abortion bans on May 21, 2019. Charlie Neibergall/AP

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The attorneys general of California, Maryland, Vermont, Maine, Oregon, New York, and Washington, DC, sued the Trump administration Thursday over a policy that would make it harder for insurers to offer coverage for abortion. If the policy were to go forward, it could put abortion access—or even health insurance—at risk for the roughly 3 million Americans who are insured through the Affordable Care Act marketplace. 

“Every day, the Trump Administration and anti-choice activists look for new ways to undermine Roe v. Wade and impose burdensome restrictions on women’s reproductive freedoms,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James in a statement. “This new rule is just another attempt to control women’s bodies and make it harder for those struggling financially to exert their constitutional right to an abortion.” 

As Mother Jones reported when the policy was announced in December, it could decimate access to affordable abortions: 

It requires insurance providers on the Affordable Care Act marketplace to give two separate bills to consumers whose plans cover abortions: one for their regular premium and one for a special abortion coverage premium. The change is expected to affect millions of Americans currently receive coverage under the Affordable Care Act exchange and whose plans cover abortions.

“The primary goal of this new rule is very clear,” says Megan Donovan of the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization focused on reproductive health care, “and that is to make it as difficult as possible for insurers to offer abortion coverage and for consumers to get it.” 

Although insurance providers are still allowed to provide abortion coverage under this new rule, experts worry that the extra financial and administrative burden will dissuade many providers from covering abortion at all. Insurers will now have to account for the extra printing, mailing, and staffing costs of complying with the rule, in addition to updating their accounting systems. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that roughly 3.1 million individuals may now be required to pay separate bills. Meaning millions could be at risk of losing abortion coverage. 

Some consumers, who may not even be aware that their plan includes abortion coverage, could also be at risk of losing their insurance entirely. Policyholders whose plans cover abortion will be required to pay two separate bills. If a person fails to pay the second bill for abortion coverage, insurers have discretion to cancel their plans, for failing to pay a bill that may amount to just a dollar. 

Read the full story about the policy here.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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