New York Democrats are sounding the alarm about an abortion bill in Congress and its potential impact back home.
Under state law, New York currently requires that state-regulated health insurance plans cover abortions. But HR 7, legislation which is co-sponsored by some New York Republicans on Capitol Hill, could upend that.
“This is something — along with all the other parts of this extreme anti-freedom agenda, anti-reproductive freedom agenda — that we have to stop,” said Hudson Valley Democratic Congressman Pat Ryan.
What You Need To Know
- Under state law, New York currently requires that state-regulated health insurance plans cover abortions. But a bill in Congress could upend that
- The bill would codify the Hyde Amendment, and also restrict abortion coverage in plans offered through the Obamacare marketplace, according to a health care analyst
- The bill's co-sponsors include Rep. Brandon Williams, whose Syracuse-area district is a prime Democratic target next year. Joe Biden carried it by nearly 8 points in 2020. Last year, Williams said of abortion policy, that "the federal government needs to stay out of this”
The bill would codify the Hyde Amendment into law, banning the use of federal funds for abortions with certain exceptions.
But it also goes further, restricting coverage in plans offered through the Obamacare marketplace, says Laurie Sobel, the associate director of women’s health policy at KFF.
“It means that people who are going to the marketplace in New York would no longer be able to obtain abortion coverage there. And therefore, anybody who needs help paying for their premium wouldn’t be able to obtain abortion coverage,” she said.
The New York state Health Department offers a more dire warning, telling Spectrum News that if the bill became law, it also could potentially impact millions across the state enrolled in programs like Medicaid.
More than 130,000 New Yorkers receiving premium tax credits could also see their premiums increase by on average hundreds of dollars each month, they said.
Three of the four Republican co-sponsors of the bill from New York hail from reliably red districts, including Reps. Elise Stefanik, Claudia Tenney and Nick Langworthy.
“We should … turn our attention to a permanent solution and ensure taxpayer dollars never support abortions,” Stefanik said at a June Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America event.
The co-sponsor list also includes Rep. Brandon Williams, whose Syracuse-area district is a prime Democratic target next year. Joe Biden carried it by nearly 8 points in 2020.
Last year, after the Supreme Court ended the constitutional right to an abortion, then-candidate Williams told Syracuse.com that “the federal government needs to stay out of this … The states have to resolve this.”
”But Sobel with KFF says HR 7 would set up friction with state statute. Expect litigation, she says, if it were to become law.“It actually restricts what can be covered in ACA marketplace plans, which are plans regulated by the state,” she said. “So it attempts to take the power away from states to include abortion coverage in their state-regulated plans.”
Spectrum News reached out to Williams’ team repeatedly about this bill, dating back to late June. They did not respond to several requests for comment as to why he backs the legislation, and if he agrees with the projected impact on New York.
Democrats in New York are poised to make abortion a centerpiece of the election next year, especially in the swing districts that can help their party win back control of the House.
Just last week, red-leaning Ohio offered a fresh reminder that abortion remains a potent political issue.
Voters there rejected a Republican push to make it harder to protect abortion rights under the state constitution.