Planned Parenthood decries restrictions on abortion coverage in high-risk pools

The nation's largest provider of abortion services is slamming the Obama administration for seeking to restrict abortion coverage in high-risk pools, even as anti-abortion groups continued to argue the exact opposite.

Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, criticized the Department of Health and Human Services' declaration Wednesday that federal rules would bar the high-risk pools created by the healthcare reform law from covering abortions except in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is in danger. The HHS statement came as the National Right to Life Committee and others argued the pools being set up in Pennsylvania and New Mexico would cover elective abortions — something that wasn't prohibited by the healthcare reform law or the president's executive order on abortion.

"Based on the Obama administration’s statement, we are deeply disappointed that the administration has voluntarily and unnecessarily decided to impose limits on private funds used to purchase health insurance coverage for abortion care in the new high-risk insurance pools," Richards said in a statement Thursday.

"The very women who need to purchase private health insurance in the new high-risk pools are likely to be more vulnerable to medically complicated pregnancies," Richards added. "It is truly harmful to these women that the administration may impose limits on how they use their own private dollars, limiting their health care options at a time when they need them most. This decision has no basis in the law and flies in the face of the intent of the high-risk pools that were meant to meet the medical needs of some of the most vulnerable women in this country."