Rep. Brenda Lawrence supports bill to eliminate abortion coverage restrictions


Rep. Brenda Lawrence
Rep. Brenda Lawrence

 Congresswoman Brenda L. Lawrence (D-MI) has joined lead sponsors Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY), as well as more than 50 other Members of Congress, in supporting the introduction of the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act. The EACH Woman Act ensures health coverage for abortion for every woman however much she earns, however she is insured, or wherever she lives.

With unprecedented restrictions and bans being introduced across the country on a woman’s ability to make her own choice regarding abortion, Lawrence believes this legislation is imperative to ensure that lack of health coverage will not stand in the way of a woman making the best decision about pregnancy for her and her family.

“This is a critical issue for my District and for the city of Detroit, which in 2013 had 60 percent of its children classified as living at or below the poverty rate, according to a study by Data Driven Detroit. That same study showed the rates for teen births had dropped by nearly 10 percent, which was great news. But we all know that bans and limits to health care coverage for abortion hit these most vulnerable members of our community the hardest,” Rep. Lawrence said.

“On a personal note, I would add that I have been fortunate enough never to have had to make this choice. I have never been a victim or rape or incest, I have never had to look my husband in the eye and say it’s a matter of my life or a pregnancy coming to term, I have never had to weight the costs of feeding and sheltering my children against the cost of another child and pregnancy,” Rep Lawrence added. “I know that whatever the reason for a woman’s choice in this matter, it is her reason and it is her choice. None of us can know what she is going through. No political leader has the right to stand in judgment, or to try and ban or control her choices.”

“As I told the dozens of young women, and men, who gathered in the shadow of the United States Capitol this morning in support of the EACH Woman Act, feminist leader Margaret Sanger got it right when she said, ‘NO woman can call herself free who does not control her body.’ As a woman, as a member of Congress, and as a proud America I will continue to fight so that all women, regardless of their zip code or their health insurance coverage, have equal access to reproductive health care.”

The EACH Woman Act makes a long-needed change for women and their families, creating two important standards for reproductive health:

  • First, it respects that every woman should be able to make her own decisions about pregnancy. If a woman gets her care or insurance through the federal government, she will be covered for all pregnancy-related care, including abortion.
  • Second, it prohibits political interference with decisions of private health insurance companies to offer coverage for abortion care. Federal, state and local legislators will not be able to interfere with the private insurance market to prevent insurance companies from providing abortion coverage.

Notably, this legislation would lift the restriction on abortion coverage for women enrolled in Medicaid, commonly called the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment creates an often insurmountable barrier to abortion for women across the country already struggling to get affordable health care, and disproportionately affects those who are low-income, people of color, young, immigrants, or who live in rural communities.


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