This morning I was checking out the benefits I have through my health insurance company. I came across the benefit for abortions and was shocked to find out that my company doesn’t cover elective abortions, except for when the mother’s life is endangered or the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. After a little research on the Internet, I found out why. The state I live in (Ohio) limits abortion coverage to the above reasons if the insured is a public employee. No public funding is permitted for abortions that are purely elective (i.e., “just because” a woman wants one.) Not only that, but a minor must have the consent of a parent or guardian in order to have an abortion and any woman seeking one must receive counseling that is designed to discourage her. There is also a mandatory 24-hour waiting period.
I also found out that in 2005, 90% of the counties in Ohio did not have any abortion providers at all, even though 51% of Ohio women live in the counties that don’t have them. 8 Ohio metropolitan areas have no abortion services at all. In fact, in 2005 Ohio had only 27 abortion providers (this includes hospitals, clinics, and private physicians’ offices). That figure is down from 35 in 2000.
I had no idea that my state was so conservative (although I should have guessed it). It is one of only 12 states that prohibit public funding of abortions. Two of those states prohibit any insurance coverage for abortions. Three of the 12 states limit coverage to life endangerment cases and seven of them allow it only for life endangerment, rape and incest. (I think it is interesting that one of those seven states will only cover abortion if an additional rider has been purchased just for that purpose–as if you know ahead of time that you will be wanting or needing one!)
For information about all the states’ stances on abortion as well as a slew of additional information, visit the Guttmacher Institute web site. Another good source for abortion information is the National Abortion Federation web site.