DOVER, DE — Today state lawmakers introduced a critical piece of legislation, House Bill 110, that would ensure that people on Medicaid, private insurance, and state insurance plans are able to access abortion care without financial burden.
In the aftermath of the overturn of Roe v. Wade, and as many states continue to ban and restrict access to abortion, Delaware’s position as a safe-haven for those seeking reproductive healthcare remains intact—people’s right to access an abortion has been legally protected since 2017. However, the costs associated with abortion services can still be an obstacle, particularly for low-income people.
Generally, abortions cost between $500-$791, but the cost may vary by provider and gestation. This new bill aims to eliminate that financial barrier and increase reproductive healthcare access for countless Delawareans.
“Making patients shoulder the costs of abortion procedures has the harshest impact on our most vulnerable populations, notably young, low-income, and communities of color,” says Helen Salita, ACLU-DE campaign manager. “People are forced to shift critical funds for rent, food, childcare, transportation, or other medical expenses–or forgo treatment altogether. We have to eliminate these financial hurdles if we’re going to address the socioeconomic and racial disparities in healthcare.”
Delaware physicians and healthcare practitioners have also voiced support for the new bill. Retired Ob/Gyn John LaFerla, MD, MPH recently penned a letter on the merits of Medicaid-funding of abortion care in Delaware. Having provided a full range of obstetrical and abortion care for 50 years, LaFerla noted that increased access to abortion has over time shown to decrease medical complications and deaths that result from unwanted pregnancies.
“We are better off when every individual, including Medicaid recipients, can decide for themselves whether and when to have the children they want,” says LaFerla.
Legislators have already scheduled HB 110 for a hearing in the House Health and Human Development Committee for Wednesday, April 5, 2023 at 11 a.m.
Sixteen states already allow Medicaid-funding for abortion. Adding Delaware to that list would enhance abortion protection and accessibility in the state at a time when the country’s relationship to reproductive freedom grows increasingly precarious. Supporters of the new bill can send a message to their representatives by visiting bit.ly/supporthb110.