While other states are making it more difficult to have an abortion, California may make it free for more individuals.
California Might Soon Make Abortion Cheaper Or Free
State senators are discussing a plan that would abolish out-of-pocket charges for abortions and associated treatments such as counseling, copays, and payments toward deductibles. The legislation, which has been passed by the Senate and is on its way to the Assembly, would apply to the majority of private health insurance regulated by the state.
According to Elizabeth Nash, a state policy analyst at the Guttmacher Agency, a nonprofit research institute that researches abortion and reproductive health care, 559 abortion restrictions have been filed in 47 state legislatures this year, with 82 already implemented. According to her, this is already the third-highest number of abortion restrictions enacted in a single year since the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, which confirmed the legal right to an abortion.
In comparison, she added, just a few laws, like California’s, would make it simpler or cheaper to abort a pregnancy.
The law is being debated in the state legislature at the same time as the destiny of Roe v. Wade is being called into doubt. The conservative-leaning Supreme Court has agreed to consider a Mississippi legislation that prohibits abortion beyond 15 weeks later this year, and its decision may end or damage Roe.
It’s difficult to realize that reproductive rights may be called into question again after being settled for 40 years, as remarked by state Sen. Lena Gonzalez, an author of the bill, SB 245. They’re taking a stand not simply to make abortions more accessible but also to make them more affordable and egalitarian.
According to Wynette Sills, director of Californians for Life, abortion opponents believe the state should instead make birth and maternity care more accessible. Instead of providing patients with more options for reproductive health care and family planning, this bill encourages only one option, according to Sills.
If they’re attempting to help the economically poor, she finds it repugnant that the best they can provide is a free abortion.
California already provides extensive abortion protection. It is one of six states that compel health insurance companies to cover abortions, and the majority of Medi-Cal users pay nothing out of pocket for the operation.
When Bella Calamore planned to get an abortion in May 2020, she assumed it would be covered by Medi-Cal. However, she discovered at the clinic that her father had recently registered her in his Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, which informed her that she would repay $600 once insurance was applied.
Calamore, 22, of Riverside, said it didn’t seem financially feasible for her to spend that much. She was a college student who had lost her waitressing job because of the COVID-19 outbreak and had no income. She said that the abortion cost more than her rent that month.
Calamore sat in her car, surrounded by anti-abortion demonstrators, unsure what to do. She opted to pay for the abortion herself, leaving only $200 in her bank account, just enough for the remainder of the month’s meals.
Calamore eventually became associated with NARAL Pro-Choice America, a pro-abortion rights organization, and spoke before the Senate Health Committee.
The law would not affect the millions of Californians whose healthcare plans are governed by the federal government. According to the California Health Benefits Review Board, this law would affect approximately 9,650 of the approximately 23,000 women who have abortions in California each year.
The board estimates that the law would result in a 1% increase in abortions among individuals whose cost-sharing would be reduced, or approximately 100 extra abortions per year.