ST. LOUIS — Today, Ald. Annie Rice introduced a resolution to call upon state elected officials to provide abortion care coverage in public and private insurance programs in Missouri. Furthermore, the resolution calls upon Congress and President Trump to support and reinstate insurance coverage for abortion services for women enrolled in public insurance programs by enacting the EACH Woman Act.
“Currently, low-income women are disproportionately unable to access abortion due to insurance bans on abortion care,” said Leah Boersig, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri Board President. “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.”
“Abortion is healthcare, and barring healthcare coverage from insurance coverage, for any reason, sets a dangerous precedent. Seven in 10 Americans support access to safe and legal abortion services,” said Annie Rice, 8th Ward Alderwoman. “The EACH Woman Act respects that every woman should be able to make her own decisions about pregnancy. If a woman gets her care or insurance through the federal government, she will be covered for all pregnancy-related care, including abortion. 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.
More than 10,000 women of reproductive age in St. Louis enrolled in Medicaid are denied
coverage for comprehensive pregnancy-related care that includes abortion care, because Missouri Healthnet restricts coverage of abortion. Missouri law also bans insurance coverage of abortion on the state insurance exchange and in private insurance plans.
Additionally, the federal Hyde Amendment, passed by Congress on September 30, 1976, has been denying women use of Medicaid insurance for abortion for more than 40 years. The impact of policies that restrict coverage of abortion in public or private insurance fall hardest on low-income women, women of color, immigrant and undocumented women, survivors of domestic violence, transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals, and young women.
The EACH Woman Act, first introduced in 2015 but reintroduced in 2017, would ensure coverage for abortion for every woman: however much she earns, however she is insured, or wherever she lives, and prohibits political interference with decisions of private health insurance companies to offer coverage for abortion care.
Ald. Christine Ingrassia, Ald. Megan Green, Ald. Cara Spencer, and Ald. Heather Navarro are cosponsors on the bill, which NARAL Missouri helped to create with the National Institute for Reproductive Health and All* Above All.