February 9 2017
One News Now
featuring Hadley Heath
While there is a push for Republicans to repeal ObamaCare, they are also being warned of sinister consequences if they do: sending women to jail.
"If Obamacare is repealed," reads the 16-word headline from women's magazine Cosmo, "more pregnant women will have to go to jail for prenatal care."
Carolyn Sufrin, an obstetrician-gynecologist and medical anthropologist at Johns Hopkins University, writes in Cosmopolitan that some women see jail as the only place to get prenatal care.
"I just wanted to be in jail," one woman told Sufrin. "I knew that I could eat, I could sleep, and that even if it's not the best of medical care, I was going to get some type of care."
Because the Affordable Care Act allows poor women access to health care, women do not need to get incarcerated to get it. Therefore, Sufrin believes that repealing Obamacare will mean more pregnant women will have to go to jail for prenatal care.
"When I read this article, the first thing that came to mind was that the author didn't seem to make a point that Medicaid, the low-income health insurance program that's facilitated by state governments, is not going anywhere if the ACA is repealed," responds Hadley Heath Manning, director of health policy at the Independent Women's Forum (IWF).
It's important to keep in mind, Manning says, that some of these protections are going to stay regardless of what happens to ObamaCare.
There are also a network on charitable organizations that offer prenatal care for poor women.
"So it's not the case," she says, "that jail is the only place women have to go."
Sufrin has good intentions about providing maximum care and options for women, says Manning, but there are political views involved, too.
Sufrin's sympathetic story is running in a left-wing magazine and her biography states she's a fellow with a pro-abortion group, Physicians for Reproductive Health, which opposes Donald Trump's cabinet nominees and Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The website also asks doctors to sign a pledge to "stand up for reproductive rights."
"There are very important differences between the Right and Left when it comes to what constitutes women's health care and who should pay for it," Manning says. "That's really ultimately what is at the heart of the debate."