At least one state in America is willing to defend a woman’s right to make her own reproductive decisions. On Friday, a state panel in Connecticut unanimously declared that abortion is an essential health benefit ,that must be covered by all insurance plans. The state made the decision on the same day that anti-abortion advocates staged rallies in the state, and across the nation, to protest against abortion.
The unanimous vote was a surprise to both pro-choice and anti-abortion advocates, and stands to go into effect once certain aspects of Obamacare kick in two years from now.
“Starting in 2014, all health plans nationwide must cover certain essential health benefits, and each state will determine how far those minimum levels of coverage will go.”
In Connecticut, every private health insurance plan already covers elective abortions, according to Victoria Veltri, the state’s health care advocate. However, for this new essential benefits plan, the state must create a model, using the state employee plan, the federal employee plan or a private plan for what is required to be covered.
Had the state selected the federal employees’ health plan, which does not cover abortions, then businesses and individuals who purchased this essential benefits package would not receive abortion coverage.
Because of the state panel’s unanimous vote, women will now have insurance coverage of abortions statewide. Anti-abortion activists obviously intend to fight the decision, but unless the Affordable Care Act is struck down by the Supreme Court later this month, the unanimous decision is unlikely to be reversed any time soon. But one thing is for certain, women scored a major victory in Connecticut against those who would dictate what they can or cannot do with their own bodies.