This election, I was proud to work with many young people to engage our communities and campuses in the issues that impact us. One issue that engaged many young women in Ohio this election was access to healthcare, especially pregnancy related services, such as pre and post-natal care, maternity care, and abortion care. 65% of 18-24 year olds believe abortion should be legal all or most of the time, which is higher than any other age group. I am lucky to have employer-funded health insurance that allows me to access a full range of preventive services, including all pregnancy related services.
Sadly, not all women – even women with insurance – have access to these services. Current law unfairly limits insurance coverage for abortion for women with government-funded insurance. This is because federal dollars are withheld from covering a woman’s abortion except in limited circumstance.
It seems unfair to withhold insurance coverage or try to influence a woman’s decisions about whether to end a pregnancy just because of the type of insurance she has. These are decisions best made by a woman, her family, faith and doctor, not politicians.
These laws also put the lives of women at risk. When a woman is pregnant, it is important that she has access to safe medical care. Providing insurance coverage insures she will be able to see a licensed, quality health care provider.
Even if we don’t personally agree with abortion, it is unfair to restrict insurance coverage, or try to influence a woman’s decision about whether to end a pregnancy, just because she has government-funded health insurance.
I care about women in Ohio, which is why I supported Barack Obama and Sherrod Brown. Both pledged that they would work to ensure all women have access to essential reproductive health care services.
Women and youth voters played a huge impact in Obama’s win this year. Not only did young people, 18-24, turn out for the president in 2008, they continued to turn out for him as they aged, now in the 25-29 year age bracket. This demonstrates how important issues such as insurance coverage for abortion are to this generation.
Now my generational must hold Obama accountable to his commitments. That includes urging President Obama to submit a budget to Congress without unfair restrictions on coverage for abortion care. Obama Administration, take note that Ohio women will be watching to see if you live up to your commitments to women’s healthcare.