How The AHCA Being Killed Will Affect Repro Rights

by Lani Seelinger
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Given the Republican Party's tendency to attack reproductive freedoms and make abortions less accessible, women around the nation had good reason to worry about the AHCA vote. So, the failure of Trumpcare should be a relief, but you're probably still wondering whether or not the AHCA not passing will affect your reproductive rights in any sort of way.

Women knew they had a lot to worry about the minute that Trump got elected, and this healthcare proposal put few fears at ease. While it did leave some essential coverage intact, it also left much to be desired. This comes as a shock to no one, considering how many women seemed to be involved in the decision-making process. While I'm sure there are exceptions, Republican congressmen have not shown themselves to be especially empathetic to the needs of women, particularly when it comes to reproductive freedom.

So if you've been worrying about your access to essential services or if you've already gone out and equipped yourself with an IUD, I don't blame you in the least. Just because the Obamacare replacement plan didn't immediately yank away your birth control coverage, women definitely are not out of the woods yet. At least you can take a deep breath now that it won't go on to the Senate, but the Republican war on women is far from over.

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While it still allowed for free birth control, its treatment of Medicaid was the most worrying for those who want women to have access to the birth control of their choice. Medicaid provides for the country's lowest income people, and under the GOP plan, 4 to 6 million people could have lost their coverage under Medicaid. Women who relied on that, of course, would have lost their free birth control. Luckily, the bill failing means that Medicaid recipients can breathe easy — at least until the GOP's next attempt comes out.

In another shot at the 99 percent, Trumpcare also threatened to defund Planned Parenthood for a year. The organization would have kept providing the care that they could, but without access to federal funding in the form of Medicaid reimbursements and Title X grants, some people who came there for necessary care would have found themselves stuck without options. Defunding Planned Parenthood is actually quite an unpopular proposal, with over half of even Trump supporters against it. It's been a longstanding obsession of Republican lawmakers, though, so they couldn't resist the chance to take this swipe at it.

Finally, we come to the piece about abortions, which was the worst of all. Under the AHCA, women would not have been able to use tax credits to purchase private insurance plans that cover abortion services. Sure, women would have been allowed to receive an insurance-covered abortion in cases of rape or incest or if their lives were endangered, but no elective abortions — and that included cases where, for example, the pregnancy is risky but not life threatening or where the fetus had a serious defect.

With all this in mind, it's a great relief that the AHCA didn't pass. Don't relax too much, however. After so many years of promising to repeal and replace Obamacare, the Republicans aren't likely to drop it now, and their next bill could be even more detrimental to women's reproductive freedom. This may have been a victory in one battle, but the war on women still continues.