Today, Physicians for Reproductive Health’s President and CEO Dr. Jamila Perritt is testifying before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies in a hearing titled “The Impact on Women Seeking an Abortion but are Denied Because of an Inability to Pay.” Alongside President and CEO of Guttmacher Institute Dr. Herminia Palacio and Executive Director of Lilith Fund Amanda Beatriz Williams, Dr. Perritt is speaking out against the devastating harms of abortion coverage restrictions like the Hyde Amendment on the wellbeing on patients across the country.
The following is from Dr. Jamila Perritt’s statement submitted to the committee:
“As an obstetrician and gynecologist, and a front-line provider of health care, I see what happens when women don’t have access to health care services because they lack coverage and cannot afford to pay. Abortion services are no different. The Hyde Amendment denies my patients the ability to make decisions about their bodies and their pregnancies entirely because of where they live and how much money they make.
It is my responsibility to be very clear today and say to you: abortion is health care.
“For the patients I care for, many of whom are living paycheck to paycheck, the cost of reproductive health care and additional expenses such as childcare, transportation, and time away from work can be insurmountable, making access to care impossible. It is my responsibility to be very clear today and say to you: abortion is health care. Abortion should not be singled out for exclusion or have additional administrative or financial burdens placed upon it.
“Taken as a whole, coverage restrictions make it clear that if you are an individual who has health insurance through the government in need of abortion services and cannot gather the funds, you may be unable to get care. These policy restrictions, enacted every year into law, tell me that if you are poor, you are less deserving of high-quality care. This is not health care. This is punishment, and it is coercion.”