Monday, January 21, 2019

Lawsuit: Pennsylvania's Medicaid Abortion Coverage Ban is Unconstitutional (Jan. 16, 2019): Lawsuit: Pennsylvania's Medicaid Abortion Coverage Ban is Unconstitutional, by Jessica Mason Pieklo:

Perhaps signaling a turn towards state courts strategies, last week the Women's Law Project filed a lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania's ban on Medicaid abortion coverage alleging violation of the Pennsylvania constitution.  Like the federal government's Hyde Amendment, Pennsylvania law prohibits the use of state Medicaid funds to pay for abortions except in the cases of rape, incest or where the pregnancy endangers a woman's life. 

The lawsuit alleges that the ban on funding violates Pennsylvania's Equal Rights Amendment.  

“Pennsylvania’s ban on Medicaid coverage of abortion is a decades-long injustice that deprives low-income women of reproductive health care in violation of the state Constitution’s Equal Rights Amendment,” Susan J. Frietsche, senior staff attorney at the Women’s Law Project, said in a statement. “The coverage ban discriminates on the basis of sex because Medicaid comprehensively covers men’s health care but not women’s. It inflicts severe harm on women because of their reproductive capacity, and it does so in service to discredited sex-role stereotypes that continue to limit women’s equal participation in society."

The lawsuit seeks reversal of a 1985 Pennsylvania Supreme Court case that ruled that the abortion funding restrictions do not violate the state constitution.

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