Investigative

Former abortion worker: Women were coached to lie about rape so Medicaid would pay for abortions

Planned parenthood

The Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center for Women is an abortion facility affiliated with Planned Parenthood, and it is ironically named. Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman in America to earn an MD — and she was pro-life. Blackwell would have been horrified to learn that an abortion facility was using her name. It is a deep disrespect to her legacy.

When Blackwell learned about a female abortionist practicing in New York City, she wrote the following in her journal:

The gross perversion and destruction of motherhood by the abortionist filled me with indignation and awakened active antagonism. That the honorable term “female physician” should be exclusively applied to those women who carry on this shocking trade seemed to me a horror.

It was an utter degradation of what might and should become a noble position for women… I finally determined to do what I could to “redeem the hells” and especially that one form of hell thus forced upon my notice.

Blackwell also wrote a compelling essay on preborn life, stating:

Look at the first faint gleam of life, the life of the embryo, the commencement of human existence.

We see a tiny cell, so small it may be easily overlooked… And yet there is in that same germ cell something wonderful – life – it is a living cell; it contains a power of progressive growth, according to laws, according, towards a definite type, that we can only regard with reverent admiration.

She went on to discuss, with wonder, what was then known about fetal development.

READ: Shock: More than half of abortions in Medicaid-coverage states are taxpayer funded

In her 2019 book, Andrea Abrams wrote about her time volunteering at the Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center for Women. Abrams writes about how the cost of an abortion was “a very serious obstacle” for poor women. When she started working at the facility, abortions were only paid for by Medicaid when there was something wrong with the baby, when the pregnancy resulted from rape, or when the abortion was done for reasons of health.

Abrams says that when a poor woman came in, “a counselor filled in a form stating that the abortion was necessary to the woman’s mental health in order to obtain coverage for medical assistance.”

In this way, the facility cheated the system and got Medicaid to pay for abortions by claiming they were done for the woman’s “mental health.”

While Abrams was working at the facility, the policy on Medicaid changed. Abortions would only be covered by Medicaid in cases of rape or life endangerment. Abrams writes:

Although everybody was careful not to say it openly, it was instantly apparent that the counselor could tell women about the Medicaid restrictions in a way that would suggest to the woman that she could claim to have been raped, thereby qualifying for medical assistance coverage.

Workers subtly coached women to lie about being raped so their abortions would be covered. Abrams says:

There was no reporting requirement attached to the law at the time. So, when counseling, I could say, “Medical assistance will only pay for abortions that are the result of rape or incest,” and let the woman decide how to proceed from there.

I spoke with one or two women who immediately said that they had been raped. Others were not as quick to pick up on the possibility, or too honest to do so.

While she was working in the abortion facility prompting women to lie about rape, Abrams was volunteering at a Philadelphia rape crisis center called Women Organized against Rape. She felt guilty for her actions at the facility. She says, “I was facing a dilemma.” She writes:

At WOAR, it was a core belief that women did not lie about being raped. In fact, the vast majority of rapes were, and still are, not reported. A woman who did report a rape was, in all probability, telling the truth.

But I did not feel like I could counsel women, even indirectly, to say that rape was the cause of their pregnancy if it had not been.

However, I understood the position of women on medical assistance, who were no longer able to use it to pay for an abortion except by making this desperate claim.

READ: Taxpayers footing the bill for hundreds of thousands of Medicaid abortions

Abrams was expected to coach women to lie, or at least present them with the opportunity to do so. This made her uncomfortable, and she wrestled with what to do. Finally, she decided to leave. She says, “It was time to stop doing pregnancy and abortion counseling. I could not handle the Medicaid dilemma and felt that stopping altogether was one way to avoid it.”

Abrams says she left the abortion facility “regretfully.”

Although Abrams left, it is possible that workers at the facility continued to coach women to lie after she was gone. There is no way to know how long the practice continued, or if it still continues today.

Source: Andrea Abrams Bearing Children: A Memoir of Choices (2019) 26, 27, 28

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