The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116; cell 202-641-1906

Anti-Abortion Rights Model Guidelines Released: NOW Intensifies Call for Obama to Live Up to Campaign Promises


Late last night, the Office of Management and Budget and the
Department of Health and Human Services released pre-regulatory model
guidelines for the implementation of the anti-abortion rights provisions
tacked on to the Affordable Care Act in order to secure the votes of a
handful of religious fundamentalists serving in Congress.

NOW remains clear that women in the
United States have fewer abortion rights today than we did one year ago,
and that the situation will be dramatically worsened by the time health
insurance exchanges are up and running in 2014. Forcing health insurers
who participate in exchanges to segregate funds for abortion care
perpetuates grave injustice to women; insults those paying into plans --
young, old, women, men, as well as payroll account administrators --
with a burdensome monthly "two-check" requirement; and will lead to the
end of private coverage for abortion care, even for women with the
luxury to afford their own insurance premiums.

Today 87 percent of employer-based
insurance plans cover abortion care; those that choose to continue that
coverage while participating in exchanges will be subject to annual cost
audits, new layers of internal and administrative controls and the
potential for harassment from state health insurance commissioners. It
is no surprise that a George Washington University study has predicted
that one outcome of the Affordable Care Act will be the virtual
elimination of private coverage for abortion care -- legal medical care
accessed by one in three women in this country.

Discrimination against abortion care
is discrimination against women. NOW intensifies its calls on President
Obama to live up to his campaign promises to repeal the Hyde Amendment,
which bars federal funding for abortion care, and to pass the Freedom of
Choice Act (FOCA). NOW also calls on women to speak up and organize for
abortion rights at the community level -- whether lobbying elected
officials; penning opinion pieces and blog posts; or countering the
pervasive violence and harassment outside reproductive health clinics.

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW has 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.