I was flabbergasted by the cost of medical care I could have died without – but surprise fees are standard in a system motivated first and foremost by profit
Sun 16 Apr 2023
On 27 January, I was just under six weeks pregnant. My fertility app – one of several pinned on my phone’s home screen, I am reluctant to admit – told me that the embryo growing inside me was the size of a green pea.
That morning, I felt both elated and nervous. Between Zoom calls and spurts of distracted writing, I thought about spilling the beans to my sister, but resisted. After two miscarriages, I was wary of sharing the news too early.
By Nicole Chavez, CNN
Oct 11, 2021
Outside the only abortion clinic in the border city of McAllen, Texas, a debate has played out for years. Some people pray and beg patients to not go inside as some volunteers escort patients to the entrance. But none of them were there when Rosie Jimenez died just across the street more than 40 years ago.
As thousands of people marched to the Supreme Court in support of reproductive rights earlier this month, Rosie's photo was displayed in banners and her name was repeated by crowds at vigils and rallies across Texas, Arizona, California and Oregon. In McAllen, there was a defiant mood. Activists held a rally about eight blocks from the clinic that stands across the street from city hall.
MAI FLEMING , FAMILY PHYSICIAN
Mrs. K was a refugee who recently arrived in the U.S. to reunite with her husband and children. They arrived safely a few weeks ahead of her. On her initial refugee health exam, Mrs. K discovered she was six weeks pregnant. She had just arrived after escaping persecution in southeast Asia and faced the tremendous task of settling herself and her family in a new home. It was impossible for her to contemplate bringing another child into her family at the time. When Mrs. K came into the primary care clinic where I work seeking a medication abortion, I was happy to help her through the process.
In California, where my primary practice is located, any pregnancy-related care, including abortion care, is covered by Medicaid. Any person who is eligible for Medicaid and seeking an abortion for any reason can obtain the health care services they need without delay. That means access to an abortion as soon as someone decides, rather than having to delay for weeks to scrape together funds to pay out of pocket.
But will Biden do it?
MARCH 31, 2021
Abortion advocates are finally on the offensive. Having barely made it through the last four years with Roe intact, the groups battling to protect the right to abortion can now, in theory, help set the agenda for their pro-choice president. And they are putting much of their energy into a single demand: End the ban on using federal funds for abortion care.
That ban, known as the Hyde Amendment, was passed by Congress in 1976 as an amendment to the federal budget. Thanks to Hyde, Medicaid health insurance can’t cover abortions—except in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment—forcing low-income women to pay for abortions out of pocket. The amendment was the first major blow to abortion rights after Roe because it essentially cut off access to those who had always struggled to get care before the procedure was legalized.
Deep in the heart of Texas, poverty means illness reigns.
By Samuel Dickman
Feb. 16, 2021
For people who live in poverty in America, getting medical care is never easy. In Texas, health care for the poor is particularly challenging: Medicaid rules are among the most stringent in the country. A family of four with two parents must earn less than $285 per month to qualify. And for those who do receive Medicaid, finding a provider can present even greater challenges. It’s about to get worse.
For the past several years, Texas politicians have worked to cut off Medicaid recipients’ access to the wide range of services offered by Planned Parenthood. Now, barring an extension of a state district court’s temporary block on their efforts, they may have gotten their way.
Feb 3, 2021
Can a state require that all health plans offered to its residents cover elective abortions? The federal government thinks not, and the state of California is poised to lose at least $200 million in Medicaid dollars because it insists that health plans in its state cover abortion services.
In early 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Trump Administration issued a notice to California that the state’s abortion coverage mandate violated federal law. According to a December press release from the HHS Office for Civil Rights, the federal government may enforce its decision by withholding $200 million in federal Medicaid funds each quarter until the state comes into compliance.
The New Front Line of the Anti-Abortion Movement
As rural health care flounders, crisis pregnancy centers are gaining ground.
By Eliza Griswold
Nov 11, 2019
On the door of a white R.V. that serves as the Wabash Valley Crisis Pregnancy Center’s mobile unit are the stencilled words “No Cash, No Narcotics.” The center, in Terre Haute, Indiana, is one of more than twenty-five hundred such C.P.C.s in the U.S.—Christian organizations that provide services including free pregnancy testing, low-cost S.T.D. testing, parenting classes, and ultrasounds. Sharon Carey, the executive director of the Wabash Valley center, acquired the van in January, 2018, for a hundred and fifty thousand dollars, after finding a company that retrofits secondhand vehicles with medical equipment. That May, Carey began to dispatch the van to rural towns whose residents often cannot afford the gas needed to drive to the C.P.C. or to a hospital. Carey has selected parking spots in areas with high foot traffic, so that prospective clients can drop in to learn about the C.P.C.’s services. In Montezuma, she chose the lot outside a Dollar General. In Rockville, she discovered an I.G.A. supermarket frequented by the local Amish community; the van parks next to the hitching post where Amish shoppers tether their buggy horses. Driving straight up to the Amish farms would have been the wrong approach, Carey felt. The community is insular, and was unlikely to welcome outsiders offering their teen-agers free pregnancy tests or screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Bans on public coverage for abortion are unjustified by science and outright harmful
By Katie Woodruff, opinion contributor
With the U.S. Supreme Court poised to take up its first abortion case since Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation and consider a Louisiana law designed to shut down abortion clinics in the state, it’s important to remember that low-income people in Louisiana and across the country already struggle to afford legal abortion care.
Last year, the Federal Reserve noted that almost half of U.S. households did not have $400 cash on hand to cover an unexpected emergency. When I heard that news, I thought of women who discover they are pregnant when they do not want to be. On top of the challenge of sorting through their options and deciding what to do in this situation, those who choose abortion often have to scramble and stress to gather cash to pay for their procedure.
It's High Time We End Hyde If We Are Serious About Racial Justice [Op-Ed]
The Hyde Amendment blocks women from using federal funds such as Medicaid to end unwanted pregnancies. On this 43rd anniversary of a rule that places undue burden on women of color, we say enough is enough.
Jessica González-Rojas, Marcela Howell, Sung Yeon Choimorrow
Sep 30, 2019
Say her name: Rosie Jimenez. She was a 27-year-old Chicana, the daughter of migrant farm workers, living in McAllen, Texas, in 1977. She had a 5-year-old daughter she loved dearly. She was a student just six months shy of graduating and pursuing her dream of becoming a special education teacher. Yet, those dreams were never realized because Rosie died from an unsafe abortion she was forced to pursue because of the Hyde Amendment.
More than 40 years later, we still lack justice for Rosie’s untimely and unnecessary death. We must still contend with the stark injustice of the Hyde Amendment and similar restrictions, which deny coverage for safe abortion to people with Medicaid insurance, federal employees, military personnel, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives and federal prisoners. And political leaders still shy away from condemning the Hyde Amendment for what it is—a blatantly racist policy that essentially says women of color and women with low incomes are not worthy of making their own decisions over their bodies.
What It’s Like to Work at an Abortion Call Center
Amid growing abortion restrictions, the relationship between phone advocates and clients is a mix of customer service and counseling
Sep 10, 2019
On a nondescript street in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, sits a squat one-story building, the kind found in suburban office parks around the country. Past its doors is a maze of rooms with walls painted in welcoming shades of pink, purple, and yellow. In the heart of the operation, a group of workers sit in their cubicles, taking phone calls from clients around the country — and, on occasion, around the globe.
The staff are not offering tech support or assisting someone in tracking down a lost package. They’re helping the many clients of the Women’s Centers — a network of five abortion clinics located in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.