Abortion bill for financial equity

Nicole Mathieu writes a letter to the editor of Kennebec Journal highlighting the need to ensure equity in women’s health services:

I am writing to urge support for L.D. 1309, an act to provide equity in women’s health services.

I have never understood why MaineCare pays for multiple prenatal visits and hospital delivery costs for poor women, who ultimately stay “in the system” supported by taxpayers even longer due to the financial burden of having yet another child, yet MaineCare does not cover the one-time cost of an abortion.

The women who are most adversely affected by an unwanted pregnancy are Maine’s poorest women, who are on MaineCare.

Women with private health insurance don’t have to deal with the cost of an abortion if they need one. But for Maine’s poorest women, coming up with hundreds of dollars on short notice puts them in a position to delay paying for other bills like rent or groceries, asking for help from an unsupportive partner, or delaying the abortion until they are further along in the pregnancy, when risks and cost increase. Even worse, they may continue an unwanted pregnancy that they feel they are unable to care for, neglecting their own health while pregnant and making them a less-than-ideal candidate for making an adoption plan.

Without L.D. 1309, the right to choose an abortion is denied to certain women for financial reasons. L.D. 1309 lessens discrimination against low-income women, and makes fiscal and ethical sense.