ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Alderwoman of the City of St. Louis Board of Aldermen, Annie Rice, 8th Ward, introduced a resolution which calls upon state elected officials to provide abortion care coverage in public and private insurance programs in the Show-Me State.
“The St. Louis Board of Aldermen has a chance to prove the city is a beacon of hope for women by standing up for reproductive health and urging our state and federal governments to make abortion care more accessible for all,” Leah Boersig, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri Board President, said.
The resolution, introduced on Friday, also calls upon Congress and President Trump to support and reinstate insurance coverage for abortion services for women, who are enrolled in public insurance programs, by enacting the EACH Woman Act.
Boersig said that at the current state, low-income women are unable to access abortion due to the insurance bans on abortion care.
According to NARAL’s news release, over 10,000 women of reproductive age in St. Louis enrolled in Medicaid are denied coverage for comprehensive pregnancy-related care, which includes abortion. Coverage is denied because Missouri Healthnet restricts the coverage of abortion.
The law in Missouri also bans insurance coverage of abortion on both the state insurance and in private insurance plans.
“Abortion is healthcare, and barring healthcare coverage from insurance coverage, for any reason, sets a dangerous precedent,” Rice said. “Seven in ten Americans support access to safe and legal abortion services.”
NARAL noted the federal Hyde Amendment, which was passed by Congress on September 30, 1976, has been denying women the use of Medicaid insurance for abortion for over 40 years. According to NARAL the impact of policies that restrict coverage of abortion, whether it is public or private insurance, fall hardest on women with low-income, women of color, immigrant and undocumented women, survivors of domestic violence, transgender and gender nonconforming individuals and young women.
“The EACH Women Act respect that every woman should be able to make her own decisions about pregnancy,” Rice said. “If a woman gets her care or insurance through the federal government, she will be covered for all pregnancy-related care, including abortion.”
The resolution was first introduced in 2015 and again in 2017. It will ensure that every woman is given coverage, including abortion. This means that however much a woman earns, however a woman is insured, wherever a woman lives, she will be insured. The EACH Woman Act also prohibits political interference of private health insurance companies to offer coverage for abortion care.
“We need to be guaranteeing healthcare services for people who need them, not allowing for political interference with insurance companies, including in the state insurance marketplaces, and the coverage they choose to provide,” Rice said.
Alderwomen Christine Ingrassia, Megan Green, Cara Spencer and Heather Navarro are co-sponsors of the EACH Woman Act. NARAL Missouri helped to create the bill with the National Institute for Reproductive Health and All* Above All.