Back to News & Commentary

Standing Up for Women's Health in Montana

It's just wrong to ban insurance coverage for a legal medical procedure.
Niki Zupanic,
ACLU of Montana
Share This Page
April 7, 2011

Across the country, politicians are attacking women’s health and reproductive freedom. But there are also many of us saying, “Enough is enough.” And we are getting louder. Today thousands are gathering in Washington, D.C., to stand up for women’s health. And earlier this week, here in Montana, our governor, Brian Schweitzer, vetoed a truly insidious attempt to restrict women’s health care.

Our governor has been getting a lot of attention recently for his “Veto” branding irons, but on Monday all he needed was his pen to reject a bill banning abortion coverage in our state’s to-be-created health insurance exchange. Senate Bill 176 would have prohibited health plans offered through our exchange from covering abortion services.

The federal health care reform law already prohibits the use of tax dollars for abortion coverage, but this bill would have gone even further by preventing women from purchasing abortion coverage with their own money. This bill, and others like it across the country, would mean that insurance policies sold in the exchanges — even policies paid for with a woman’s own private dollars — could not cover abortion care. If companies can’t buy policies with abortion coverage in the state insurance exchanges, they simply won’t offer their employees abortion coverage at all.

We’re thrilled that our governor agreed with us and vetoed the bill: it would have jeopardized women’s health and well-being by taking away insurance coverage for comprehensive reproductive care. Currently, most insurance plans cover abortion along with other pregnancy related services, such as prenatal care, labor and delivery, and miscarriage care. This makes sense. Many things can happen in a pregnancy; comprehensive coverage allows every woman to get the health care she needs.

Perhaps the governor was moved by the fact that our Montana constitution gives us stronger protection for reproductive liberty than does the federal Constitution. But even aside from our state constitutional protection, it’s just wrong to ban insurance coverage for a legal medical procedure. Particularly in these difficult times, lawmakers in the states and in D.C. should focus on supporting women and families, not playing politics with women’s health. That’s why we must all stand up and say, “Enough is Enough.”

Our governor stood up to protect health care for Montana’s women. Congress should do the same. Please join us in telling Congress to end the attack on women’s health.

Learn more about reproductive rights: Subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

Learn More About the Issues on This Page