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Reproductive Freedom


Health Care Decision Welcome for Minorities & Women

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ACLU Nebraska Says Health Care Decision “Especially Welcome” for Women, Minorities
Decision Also Praised for Expanding Medicaid Coverage
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2012
Contact: ACLU national, (212) 549-2666; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
ACLU Nebraska, (402) 476-8091; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
The U.S. Supreme Court decision today upheld the linchpin of the Affordable Care Act by ruling 5-4 that the government can tax individuals who choose not to buy health insurance.  ACLU filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in the case.
The principal opinion was written by Chief Justice John Roberts.
·         Five members of the Court agreed that the requirement that individuals either purchase health insurance or make an additional payment on their federal income taxes – the so-called individual mandate – was a constitutionally permissible tax imposed on those who did not purchase health insurance.
·         The individual mandate was thus upheld even though five members of the Court, including Chief Justice Roberts, rejected the government’s principal argument that the individual mandate was a proper exercise of Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause.
·         Five members of the Court also agreed that Congress could withhold new Medicaid funds from states that did not expand their Medicaid coverage as required by the new health care law, but could not withhold funds for pre-existing Medicaid programs.
“The ACLU welcomes today’s decision, which recognizes that Congress has the constitutional authority to fix a health care system that does not work for millions of Americans,” said Becki Brenner, ACLU Nebraska Executive Director. “The decision is especially welcome for disadvantaged minorities, who are more likely to be uninsured, and for women, who are more likely to suffer gaps and discrimination in their health care coverage.   We trust that the states will recognize those needs and accept the additional funds that the federal government is offering under the new law to expand Medicaid coverage for needy individuals.”
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The U.S. Supreme Court decision today upheld the linchpin of the Affordable Care Act by ruling 5-4 that the government can tax individuals who choose not to buy health insurance.  ACLU filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in the case. The principal opinion was written by Chief Justice John Roberts. 

·         Five members of the Court agreed that the requirement that individuals either purchase health insurance or make an additional payment on their federal income taxes – the so-called individual mandate – was a constitutionally permissible tax imposed on those who did not purchase health insurance.

·         The individual mandate was thus upheld even though five members of the Court, including Chief Justice Roberts, rejected the government’s principal argument that the individual mandate was a proper exercise of Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause.

·         Five members of the Court also agreed that Congress could withhold new Medicaid funds from states that did not expand their Medicaid coverage as required by the new health care law, but could not withhold funds for pre-existing Medicaid programs.  “The ACLU welcomes today’s decision, which recognizes that Congress has the constitutional authority to fix a health care system that does not work for millions of Americans,” said Becki Brenner, ACLU Nebraska Executive Director.

Brenner continued, “The decision is especially welcome for disadvantaged minorities, who are more likely to be uninsured, and for women, who are more likely to suffer gaps and discrimination in their health care coverage.   We trust that the states will recognize those needs and accept the additional funds that the federal government is offering under the new law to expand Medicaid coverage for needy individuals.”

 

Respecting Women's Decisions

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On Wednesday (July 14), a federal judge sensibly blocked a Nebraska law that not only would have placed unnecessary obstacles in front of women seeking abortions, but also demonstrated a profoundly patronizing view of women who decide that abortion is the right decision for their circumstances. More from ACLU National…

 

What information are we giving teens about preventing disease and pregnancy?

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In Nebraska, most high school students receive some form of sex education in school.  Unfortunately, it appears many schools are only providing biased, unhelpful information to the teens in their care.  There are some programs that only teach abstinence as the solution, leaving out valuable information about the need to be educated about and protected from disease and unwanted pregnancy by offering information about other birth control methods.  Nationwide studies have shown "abstinence only" programs simply don't work.  In 2005, we began surveying Nebraska high schools to learn what programs are being taught to our state's children. The survey also provided educational information for school superintendents about the failures of "abstinence only" programming. The survey is being done in cooperation with the Pro-Choice Coalition of Nebraska with our partner, Planned Parenthood.
 

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Get Informed, Get Tested, Get Talking

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Community Conversation on sexually transmitted disease rates in Douglas County.  Why does Omaha have the highest chlamydia rate in the US?  Come get tested (free and confidential) by the Douglas County Health Department and learn more about this epidemic.  Share your thoughts on how policy makers need to respond to the STD problem.  This event is free and open to the public: Thursday November 19: 6 to 8 pm at the Red Cross, 80th and Center Streets, Omaha.
 

Prisoners have the right to an abortion, even behind bars.

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The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals is the federal court that controls Nebraska, and that court recently ruled that a woman's right to choose an abortion exists even when she's incarcerated.  This summer, ACLU Nebraska wrote a letter to the Nebraska Department of Corrections to ensure they were aware of the law, and we have written every single county jail to put them on notice too.  If you know a prisoner--whether she's serving a sentence or is a pre-trial detainee--make she sure knows she has the right to choose.  That's the good news.  The bad news is that abortions are "elective procedures" unless a doctor says it's medically necessary, and that means that the prison or jail can require the woman to pay for it.  The government doesn't have to pay for the medical care, but they do have to transport the woman to medical appointments.  Contact ACLU Nebraska if you have questions about this right.
 
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