Tuesday, January 13, 2009

NY Times LTE: Abortion and Low-Income Women

The New York Times on Sunday published letters responding to the Jan. 5 article, For Privacy’s Sake, Risking Do-It-Yourself Abortion. See The Abortion Choices of Poor Women.  The letters include one from David Cohen (Drexel Law), pointing out that the federal Hyde Amendment means that in many states the government does not cover the abortions of low income women, calling into question the article's characterization of abortion as "inexpensive."  Another letter also addressed the high costs of abortion for women who must pay out of pocket.


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Thanks for highlighting this. I realize now that I was so quick to inveigh against the Hyde Amendment that I forgot that NY is one of the states that voluntarily funds abortions. My point remains, but I could have been a bit clearer about that in the letter.

Posted by: David S. Cohen | Jan 14, 2009 6:37:23 AM

That's true, David. But something I didn't have time to add to the post at the time, and which makes your basic point still resonate even in New York, is that Medicaid only covers care for women at or below a certain percentage of the federal poverty line. In 1994 in Hope v. Perales, in a decision written by retiring Chief Judge Judith Kaye, New York's highest court declined to order that abortions must also be covered under New York's PCAP program, which covers prenatal care and related services to needy pregnant woman above the Medicaid eligibility line. PCAP covers services for women who make up to 180% of the poverty level, which in 2008, for a single woman, was $10,400). But in Hope v. Perales, the NY Court of Appeals refused to order that such coverage must include abortion coverage. Obviously a woman in New York could well be ineligible for a government-funded abortion and still find it very difficult to afford to pay out of pocket.

Posted by: Reproductive Rights | Jan 14, 2009 3:58:52 PM

OK, thanks. I feel better now!

Posted by: David S. Cohen | Jan 14, 2009 7:29:01 PM

Is this difficulty good or bad?

Posted by: student | Jan 28, 2009 12:58:32 PM

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