After the passage of the revised American Health Care Act (AHCA), questions about the future of women's care hang heavy — and unfortunately, right now there are more question marks than there are answers. With access to abortion care already such a polarizing topic in our society, women wondering can you get an abortion under the AHCA will be met with even more contentious debate.
The clearest way to explain what's going to happen to abortion access under the revised AHCA is to say this: Things are going to get worse. Already, the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal subsidies from being spent on abortions (unless you're pregnant due to rape or incest, or if your pregnancy threatens your life), NPR explained, and Trump's revised version of the AHCA is only going to shorten that rope.
According to NPR, the all-new version of the AHCA states that tax credits cannot be spent at all on any health care plan that covers abortions.
At its roots, the AHCA cuts Planned Parenthood off at the knees by rolling back federal funding available for services at its clinics. That also means that access to abortion care suffers. Under Obamacare, NPR pointed out, federal funds could be spent at Planned Parenthood, so long as they were not used for abortion care.
However, the revised AHCA doesn't even let people use Medicaid at Planned Parenthood, because Medicaid recipients who use PP for their care would have to find new providers since PP would no longer be reimbursed for providing their care. It sounds like long-winded legal-ese, but it basically means that PP would lose money because its no longer able to serve its Medicaid patients.
In a statement released to the press following the news, NARAL Pro-Choice American President Ilyse Hogue said:
President Trump and Congressional Republicans have shown once again their commitment to punishing and burdening women with every step they take. When they undermine and take away the healthcare we need as women, they're clearly saying that women and our ability to plan and care for our families are not their priority. Giving money to their rich friends is. That is where they are so out of step with those they claim to represent. Americans did not vote to have their healthcare taken away or to have their access to birth control cut off — the popularity of the Affordable Care Act proves that. Millions have marched in the streets, called their representatives, and protested at town halls to protect women's access to healthcare, and our 1.2 million member-activists will keep rising up in protest and demanding their leaders expand women's freedom and equality.
Janel George, director of federal reproductive rights and health for the National Women's Law Center, told VICE that what the AHCA is trying doing is "trying to end private health insurance coverage of abortion," which spells disaster for women and their overall reproductive care.
What's that cryptic line in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale? "Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub you'd be boiled to death before you knew it."
Sound's eerily relevant now, doesn't it?