House Bill 3290 prohibits abortion coverage by private health insurance except to prevent the death of the mother or in cases of rape and incest. Per this law, a woman must buy an additional policy to cover the procedure.
First, if a woman finds out that she is carrying a fetus that has an abnormality incompatible with life, her insurance company may not pay for the abortion. If she hasn’t already purchased an additional policy, she is out of luck. Why, if a baby is desperately wanted, would a woman purchase a policy in advance to cover an abortion?
Terminations of these high-risk pregnancies can cost up to $10,000, a monumental cost for families already dealing with a profound tragedy.
Should a family who can’t afford a $10,000 procedure be forced to carry a doomed baby to term?
Second, how do we define “preventing the death of the mother?” At what point do we cross the line from “threatening the health of the mother” to potentially causing her death? Is our Legislature truly qualified to decide when a woman may or may not survive her own pregnancy?
Last, but not least, this legislation dictates that private insurance may cover an abortion if a woman is raped, but only if she reports the crime within 48 hours. It is patently naïve to think that every woman raped in Oklahoma will feel calm enough and, more importantly, safe enough to go to the authorities within 48 hours of a horrific physical and emotional assault. It often takes more than a few days for a woman to remove herself from an environment where further assault or retribution for reporting the crime is a terrifying reality.
These are just a few of the many problems with this bill. Legislating how much our mothers, sisters and daughters should suffer simply because they are women feels like a step back into the Dark Ages.
“Sara Jane Rose