Sunday, October 1, 2017

Illinois becomes first state in decades to lift restrictions on Medicaid coverage for abortions

ACLU Blog (Sept. 29, 2017): Medicaid Will Now Cover Abortion for Low Income Women Illinois.  Take That, Hyde!, by Lorie Chaiten: 

Last week, Bruce Rauner, the Republican governor of Illinois signed a bill that will allow abortion coverage for low-income women enrolled in Medicaid.  With the signing of the law, Illinois became they first state to lift restrictions on Medicaid coverage in decades.  The law also removes restrictions on coverage for state employees who are covered under state health care plans.

Rauner's signature comes after many months of speculation about whether or not he would sign the bill. At a news conference prior to signing, he stated that he personally supports abortion rights and decided to act consistent with his views. He also recognized that the current restrictions on Medicaid coverage unfairly takes away the right of poor women to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy.

"The passions, the emotions, the sentiments on both sides of these issues are very powerful. I respect them very much," Rauner said. "I believe that a woman living with limited financial means should not be put in a position where she has to choose something different than a woman of higher income would be able to choose." 

In celebrating the victory, Lorie Chaiten, Director of the ACLU-Illinois' Women and Reproductive Rights Project stated:

This bill backs up our state’s values by ending political interference with insurance coverage for abortion and ensuring that a woman isn’t treated differently just because of her income or where she gets her insurance. It is simply common sense: When health programs for women with low incomes cover birth control and abortion — not just childbirth — it’s good for them and it’s good for society as a whole.

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