KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Abortion Issues Continue To Draw Attention In New Congress

Some House Republicans view abortion as a possible means to undo aspects of the health law. But, at the same time, some conservative states are beginning to "warm to" the law's Medicaid provisions related to family planning.

The Connecticut Mirror: Economic Woes Can't Push Social Issues Off The Table In Congress
House Republicans are gearing up for a pitched battle over expanded abortion restrictions. ... Last week, two leading Republicans introduced abortion-related bills. One, by Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., would make permanent a current ban on federal funding for abortion, known as the Hyde amendment, which now has to be renewed annually. ... A second proposal to ban any federal funding for abortion under the health care reform overhaul is also likely to get fast-tracked. ... backers of the reform law say it already bars federal money for abortions (Shesgreen, 1/25).

The Fiscal Times: Republicans Play the Abortion Card to Stop 'Obamacare'
The law currently requires women to buy separate insurance policies if they want their coverage to include abortions. Independent fact check groups and Obama maintain that the health care law does not permit funding of abortion through tax subsidies or other means, but GOP members claim the law is flimsy and is open to loopholes for abortion funding (Hirsch, 1/24).

Politico: Medicaid Expands Birth Control Access
The expansion of birth control coverage under health reform could offer a rare space for common ground on reproductive health issues. As Republicans revive the debate over abortion in Congress, most recently with legislation that would codify the Hyde Amendment, conservative states have actually begun warming to the new family planning provision (Kliff, 1/24).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Foes Of Abortion See Opportunity To Make Rules Stricter
At the 38th anniversary over the weekend of Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion-rights decision, Michael McMonagle, public affairs director for the Pro-Life Union of Southeastern Pennsylvania, was feeling optimistic. An influx of antiabortion lawmakers at the state and federal levels holds promise for new curbs on abortion, he said. And last week's sensational arrest of a Philadelphia abortion doctor on murder charges "adds a sense of urgency and makes the issue tangible," he said Saturday, the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's still politically polarizing decision to make abortion a right (Burling, 1/24).

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