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Keighley, Jennifer. “Health Care Reform and Reproductive Rights: Sex Equality Arguments for Abortion Coverage in a National Plan.” Harvard Journal of Law & Gender 33 (2010): 357–402.


This article argues abortion is a sex equality issue and concludes that restrictive abortion funding constitutes sex discrimination, which should be examined under a transformed understanding of the Equal Protection Clause in the U.S. Constitution. Keighley argues that the sex equality argument has strategic appeal because it focuses the legal issues on equality rather than current legal thinking on these topics. The author examines how legislative discussion around the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 showed a more expansive understanding of sex equality and healthcare, which ought to be adopted in abortion funding analysis today. The article contends that in order to ensure gender justice and to prevent sex-based discrimination, abortion funding must be included in healthcare coverage. The article also argues that the Court’s focus on poverty, instead of sex equality, in the Supreme Court’s case Harris v. McRae demonstrates a reluctance to confront sex equality issues within the abortion funding context. The author suggests, however, that the Supreme Court might one day change its approach to reproductive rights by viewing abortion through a sex equality lens.


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Abortion funding bans   Economic justice   Government regulation   Legal case   Abortion   Health care   Pregnancy   Health disparities