Audio News Conference: Organizations Urge President Obama to Strike All Abortion Restrictions, Expand Access to Abortion Care

The President’s budget proposal provides critical reproductive health services for women.

In nearly all states across the country, federal and state politicians have created barriers that can make abortion services increasingly unaffordable or unavailable. And since the passage of the Hyde Amendment in 1976, Congress has withheld health care assistance for abortion services in federally-funded health insurance. These policies create obstacles to care and personal decision-making for federal employees and those who already face significant barriers to receiving quality care, such as low-income women, immigrant women and women of color. However we feel about abortion, politicians shouldn’t be allowed to deny a woman’s health coverage just because she’s poor.

Organizations representing health care providers, youth, people of color, faith communities, reproductive health advocates and others are urging the President to strike all restrictions on abortion coverage for women and ensure that every woman has coverage for a full range of pregnancy related care, including abortion, whether she is enrolled in government-funded or private health insurance.

Restricting access to safe abortion care disproportionately affects poor and low-income women. The President must act to end this discrimination.

An audio news conference for journalists and bloggers on critical reproductive health services for women in the President’s budget proposal was hosted by RH Reality Check on April 9th, 2013.

Speakers included:

  • Jessica Arons, Director, Women’s Health & Rights Program, Center for American Progress
  • Kimberly Inez McGuire, Associate Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
  • Megan J. Peterson, Deputy Director, National Network of Abortion Funds
  • Jeryl Hayes, Reproductive Justice Law & Policy Fellow placed at the Black Women’s Health Imperative

Jessica Arons is the Director of the Women’s Health and Rights Program at the Center for American Progress and the Center for American Progress Action Fund, as well as a member of the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative. Prior to joining American Progress, she worked at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, the labor and employment law firm of James & Hoffman, the Supreme Court of Virginia, the White House, and the 1996 Pennsylvania Democratic Coordinated Campaign. She currently serves on the boards of the DC Abortion Fund and the Virginia ACLU.

Jessica is an honors graduate of Brown University and William and Mary School of Law. At William and Mary, Jessica was an associate editor of the William and Mary Law Review, managing editor of the William and Mary Journal of Women and the Law, and a board member of the William and Mary Public Service Fund. She has been seen on MSNBC, Fox News, and ABC News; heard on Clear Channel radio; and featured in The Nation, Politico, HuffingtonPost ScienceProgress, and RHRealityCheck. Her publications include “More Than a Choice: A Progressive Vision for Reproductive Health and Rights” and “Future Choices: Assisted Reproductive Technologies and the Law.”

Kimberly Inez McGuire is Associate Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. At NLIRH Kimberly conducts legislative analysis and evaluates public policy on matters related to our three program areas, as well as responding to policymakers’ requests for information and assistance.

Kimberly joins the NLIRH with several years’ experience in policy analysis, legislative relations, and strategic communications. Previously, Kimberly worked as Senior Associate for Programs and Policy at the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, where she managed and supported several RHTP programs areas including abortion, contraceptive technologies, and health and wellness. During her time with RHTP, she worked in close partnership with NLIRH on groundbreaking research on Latino attitudes on abortion, contributed to the work of the Oral Contraceptives Over-the-Counter Working Group, and represented RHTP in advocacy for federal chemical policy reform. A frequent writer on reproductive and environmental health, Kimberly has presented on a broad range of reproductive health topics at conferences nationwide.

Megan J. Peterson is the Deputy Director for the National Network of Abortion Funds. Megan oversees multiple program areas at the Network including state and federal advocacy, member support, and individual donor relations. Before coming to the Network in 2006, she worked as the development and communications director for Pro-Choice Resources, home of the Hersey Abortion Assistance Fund. Megan has also worked as a patient educator for women receiving abortion care and as a legislative analyst on issues of economic justice and women’s rights. Megan serves on the editorial advisory board of the Grassroots Fundraising Journal and on the advisory board of Backline.

Jeryl Hayes is serving as the Reproductive Justice Law & Policy Fellow placed at the Black Women’s Health Imperative, through LSRJs Reproductive Justice Fellowship Program.  Her work includes a portfolio of issues including maternal and child mortality and morbidity, abortion, access to health care coverage, health equity, contraception and emergency contraception, reproductive rights, and HIV/STI prevention.  She earned her JD from Washington University in St. Louis in 2011, and recently completed her Masters of Law in Law & Government from American University Washington College of Law, with a concentration in Civil and Constitutional Rights and specialization in Gender and the Law. She enjoys traveling, cooking, singing and has recently been introduced to the world of competitive karaoke in DC.