ACLU steps into healthcare reform fray over abortion

The American Civil Liberties Union is asking supporters to push back against the Obama administration's recent decision to bar the high-risk pools created by the healthcare reform law for covering most abortions. In a message to supporters, Washington Legislative Office Director Laura Murphy asks that they pressure the White House to overturn its newly announced restrictions.

"The White House has decided to voluntarily impose the ban for all women in the newly-created high risk insurance pools," Murphy writes. "What is disappointing is that there is nothing in the law that requires the Obama administration to impose this broad and highly restrictive abortion ban. It doesn't allow states to choose to cover abortion and it doesn't even give women the option to buy abortion coverage using their own money."

She continues: "Ask President Obama WHY his administration is restricting coverage for vulnerable women."
The ACLU's message follows similar criticism from Planned Parenthood.

The administration's decision was made public after anti-abortion groups protested that the high-risk pools being created in Pennsylvania and New Mexico appeared to offer generous abortion coverage. The Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday the pools will be restricted to covering abortions only in the case of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is in danger.

The high-risk pools are temporary insurance pools for people with pre-existing conditions who can't find affordable coverage. Operating on the state level and funded by the federal government, they will no longer be needed in 2014 because health plans will no longer be able to discriminate against sick people.