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Letter to the Editor: Governor's amendment discriminates against poor


I was very disturbed to learn of Gov. Bob McDonnell's proposed amendment prohibiting insurance policies that cover abortion from being included in Virginia's Affordable Care Act federal insurance exchange. This exchange would provide uninsured Virginians, including middle and low income residents, an opportunity to purchase affordable health insurance.

The governor's amendment discriminates unfairly against low income citizens by requiring all enrollees in the exchange to pay out of pocket for abortion services. Those with means can afford do so, others cannot. Although all will be paying premiums for their policies, under this amendment low income residents' premiums would not pay for abortion services they cannot otherwise afford.

I am old enough to remember the fate of unfortunate women who could not access safe abortion services prior to Roe v. Wade. Traveling out of state, and putting their life in the hands of "back-alley abortionists" was common. Some women died, or were maimed for life.

Therefore, I find that effectively denying safe abortion services to women who could not afford them without insurance directly contradicts the state's posture of requiring the highest possible medical standards for abortion clinics, by demanding that their facilities be held to the same standards as hospitals.

Why will the same high medical standards not be accessible to the poor, whose right to comprehensive reproductive services under the Affordable Care Act is being so callously denied by this ill-conceived amendment?

Please immediately contact your local state representatives and let them know that you do not support two standards for accessibility to safe abortion services, one for those who can afford to pay, and one for those who cannot.

Time is of the essence, as this amendment is scheduled to be voted on this Wednesday.

Gail Souther, Winchester


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