This month we celebrate two important anniversaries: On Jan. 8, our country observed the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty and today we celebrate the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in the United States. However, this month also saw the first hearing of the year by a subcommittee of the House of Representatives on a bill called the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” At first glance, these events may seem entirely unrelated, but they are actually intimately intertwined.
They are connected in the lives of women like Erica,* a young woman in Pennsylvania who found herself pregnant with few resources. Already the mother of a preschool-aged child, she had been dis-enrolled from welfare when she could not get to a work training session because of a public transportation strike. While trying to get re-enrolled, she was evicted from her apartment because she couldn’t afford to pay rent. Although she received health insurance through Medicaid, that program excludes coverage for abortion care in all but the most limited circumstances. Lacking money to pay for an abortion, she told a counselor, “I’m thinking of ways I can fall or what I can do to end this pregnancy [myself].”
Read More →