Memo to the Administration: You can’t be pro-choice unless you support equal access

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.
Our ally Stephanie Poggi of National Network of Abortion Funds posted this powerful piece on RH Reality Check.

If recent statements are any indication, the Obama Administration would very much like to rewrite what it means to be “pro-choice.” The Administration continues to claim that it supports the right of a woman to make her own decision about whether and when to have a child. But it turns out that the Administration only stands firm when that woman has economic resources.

It’s more than a contradiction in terms and much more than a “compromise” to deny access to abortion care to a low-income woman. The 120,000 women who called our abortion funding hotline for help last year can tell you what it really means. Not having enough food for the children you already have. Having the electricity shut off because you need that money to pay for an abortion. Selling your car, even though you need it to get to work. Not being able to return to college next semester.

Yes, we understand that many in Congress would like to end the legal status of abortion altogether. Because funding restrictions are a step toward that goal, capitulation will only embolden our opponents and get us even more onerous obstacles blocking a low-income woman’s path to an abortion.

The reproductive rights, health, and justice communities will fight – until we win – for the ability of every single woman to make the decision she feels is best for herself and her family. We will keep working until we have restored federal Medicaid coverage of abortion – and ensured it is once again available on the same terms as coverage for women continuing a pregnancy. Because nothing less will guarantee that a woman can make this fundamental decision for herself. Our commitment to the lives and futures of women and families prompted us to express our concern and disappointment when Secretary Sebelius recently went out of her way to disavow public funding. Joined by over 50 organizations in the reproductive rights and justice communities, the National Network of Abortion Funds and Catholics for Choice wrote to the Secretary after she was quoted in the press as saying that, “Federal funds have never supported abortion, do not support abortion, will not support abortion.”

For the complete article, see RH Reality Check.

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