On June 5, Physicians for Reproductive Health will hold our annual Voices of Courage benefit, a celebration of the brave doctors who provide abortion care despite the many obstacles to doing this important, necessary work. The cornerstone of our gala is recognizing two abortion providers who are particularly outstanding in the field, and this year we are thrilled to be presenting the George Tiller, MD, Abortion Provider Award, for providers early in their career who have worked to expand abortion access, to Dr. Yashica Robinson. Dr. Robinson, as the owner and founder of Alabama Women’s Wellness Center, is one of a very few abortion providers working in the state of Alabama. She is Fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a National Health Service Corps Scholar, and a member of the United States Army Reserves, and in 2016 she joined the board of Physicians for Reproductive Health. She was also recently featured as one of Essence magazine’s “Woke 100 Women,” a list which “honors women who are blazing trails for equal rights and inclusion for Black people in America.” To learn more about Dr. Robinson, check out Dawn Porter’s short film about her work and the and the challenges she has overcome in the course of her career: “The Chosen Life.”
Today, the House of Representatives voted to pass the American Health Care Act, a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act and affect health care for millions of Americans. In response, Physicians for Reproductive Health Advocacy Fellow Dr. Diane Horvath-Cosper issued the following statement:
“Today, Congress and the Trump administration directly attacked reproductive health care. Despite outcry from across the nation, the House voted to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and take insurance coverage away from 24 million people. President Trump also signed an executive order that would make it easier for employers to deny contraception coverage to their employees.
The AHCA removes many of the provisions that currently ensure Americans have access to affordable health care, weakens protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, reduces coverage of essential health services, and increases premium costs. It decimates the Medicaid program, taking away health care from millions of Americans and disproportionately impacting low-income women and women of color. It is appalling that the House would push forward legislation that offers no significant improvements to the bill that was rejected just last month—and that they would rush to pass the bill without a thorough analysis from the Congressional Budget Office.
The AHCA is also a targeted attack against reproductive health. It blocks Medicaid patients from using their insurance at Planned Parenthood health centers, which are the only source of health care for many Americans, as well as an essential provider of family planning services that help avert unintended pregnancies. The bill allows states to opt out of covering essential medical benefits including maternity care, which is one of the highest medical expenses families can incur. It includes financial disincentives for private insurance plans to cover abortion care, which is a fundamental, necessary component of reproductive health care.
This bill is part of a larger campaign by this administration to attack reproductive health care. Particularly in light of today’s executive order that uses religious freedom as a cover for allowing employers to deny contraceptive coverage, there is a clear pattern of politicians trying to make it as difficult as possible for people to access vital reproductive health services.
I am terrified for my patients and for the health of this country. As a physician, I know that patients and families suffer when they are unable to obtain comprehensive, compassionate health care. Congress should be ashamed to pass legislation that puts health care out of reach for millions of Americans. As this bill moves on to the Senate for consideration, physicians must continue to fight for the health and well-being of all of our patients.”