Monday, December 21, 2009

One Small Victory for Reproductive Rights

Over the weekend, my work email was flooded with press releases from Catholic bishops, the Family Research Council, the National Partnership for Women and Families, and Planned Parenthood. They all hated the Nelson compromise on abortion.

Still, there's a quiet victory for reproductive rights that happened late last week: D.C. haAlign Centers had a ban on local tax dollars used to pay for abortions under its state Medicaid program that has been imposed by Congress since 1988 lifted.

I did a piece for The American Prospect about it:
"This is really something to be celebrated from the point of view of women who live in D.C. who are low-income," said Healther Boonstra, senior public policy associate at the Guttmacher Institute.

At its core, lifting the restrictions gives D.C. "home rule" like other states and allows autonomy over its own funding. Now, D.C. can once again put local funding toward Medicaid that would pay for abortion services and care. Medicaid is paid for through a combination of federal and state funds. Federal funding can't be used for abortion because of the Hyde Amendment, but states have autonomy to fund abortion services with their own dollars. But D.C., because it isn't a state and technically falls under Congress's rule, has faced additional restrictions.
Go ahead and read the whole thing.

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