Crooked Coverage

State officials deny healthcare, promote anti-abortion discrimination

Syeda Gilani, Editor-in-chief

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Women cry on TV in Columbus, Ohio, protesters march on the Capital’s steps and officials wave flags through the White House lawn, yet no one seems to notice the trend. While women’s rights are a sensitive and serious topic for US politics, state governments continuously defy them. In December 2016, Texas issued an injunction halting abortion anti-discrimination laws in the health industry.

The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare allows citizens to obtain health insurance and coverage, and includes an anti-discrimination policy which prohibits biased overcharging or denying patient coverage. As citizens, women should receive health coverage, healthy hospital environments and access to clinics, despite their choice to abort or not.
As the center of conservatism, Texas is considered one of the most strictest states when it comes to abortion. Yet, according to Guttmacher studies, in 2011, 73,200 women obtained abortions and 54% of the pregnancies were unplanned. Despite it’s high abortion rate, Texas’ regulations make it near impossible for women to abort. As of September 2016, women in Texas must go through certain procedures and processes meant to discourage them before they have the actual abortion. They must receive counseling, encouraging them to keep the baby, parental consent for minors and an ultrasound before they can go through abortion procedure. This makes it extremely difficult for women to go through with their decision, in fact the sole purpose of the regulation is to spread anti-abortion sentiment.

Along with heavy restrictions on abortion itself, Texas also makes it extremely difficult for women to receive funding, proper counseling and planning for their unplanned pregnancy. According to TalkPoverty, in 2016, 16.1% of working age women in Texas were living in poverty. Yet, according to Guttmacher, women of reproductive age paid an average of $543 out of their own pocket for abortions. For women in poverty, or even low income, abortions can become too expensive and may lead to illegal methods, which are fatal. Out of the annual pregnancies in 2014, a Guttmacher study shows that 12% were teenagers out of which 8% had an abortion. Teens who do go through with such difficult and discriminative procedures must receive counseling and proper guidance on dealing with hate and personal self esteem. Planned Parenthood was one of the major counseling and proper care offices for teens and even adults facing unplanned pregnancy, yet in December 2016, Texas health officials decided to remove Medicaid funds from Planned Parenthood and cut budgets. After a year of facing low budgets and anti-abortion hate crimes, Planned parenthood filed an injunction against the state and is currently fighting back through protests, funding accounts and social media movements

While conservatives and state officials argue that abortion encourages killing, removing abortion would result in greater life loss than actually allowing it to take place. According to the Our Bodies Our Selves organization, 200,000 to 1.2 million women had illegal abortions in the 1950’s, using methods such as the coat hanger, self harm and medical overdose. Around 5,000 women died annually due to harmful methods of abortion and that doesn’t include the internal bleeding, organ punctures and tissue damage. According to the World Health Organization, one in eight pregnancy related deaths are caused by unstable abortions. So while abortion may be a serious topic for pro-life activists and some religious elects because of their ideology regarding loss of life, not having the right to abort may cause even more loss of life. In 1973, the court case Roe v. Wade, insured that state governments do not deny women coverage or health care based on abortion, yet over the past years, states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas have placed strict laws making abortion extremely difficult to near impossible. It is prior to Roe v. Wade, that women found ways to abort illegally. Yet, according to Pew Research, only six out of ten americans know about the court case and it’s influence on health care. As recorded by Planned Parenthood, only 0.03% of abortion related complications end in hospitalization, which is a drastic increase compared to the 1950’s. Court cases and movements such as Roe v Wade and worldwide women’s rights protests encourage healthier and more stable health environments for women who choose to have an abortion.

The Affordable Care Act provides women the security they need to receive proper medical care, regardless of their personal choice to abort. It is part of Obamacare itself, that nobody be denied health coverage due to unecessary bias. Students and teenagers should actively participate in movements set to prolong both antidiscrimination laws and abortion rights. Parents should donate to the dying organizations and teach their children about the importance of pre-parenthood counseling. District or state education and administration officials should encourage teaching students the long-time effects of Roe v. Wade and its securities, and health officials must reassure their patients and the general public of their rights and establish anti-discrimination policies regarding abortion and unplanned pregnancy. To teens and their parents, this injunction seems like an ordinary political agenda made to gain support, but it affects long term life decisions, education and finances of those who do face the choice and following difficulties of an unplanned pregnancy at a young age.