Whose Choice: How the Hyde Amendment Harms Poor Women
09.13.10 - One in 10 women in the United States depends on Medicaid for their healthcare coverage. But, because of a 1976 measure called the Hyde Amendment more than a million women have been denied funds to cover an abortion—a legal medical procedure that only women need, and that one in three will have in their lifetime.
For the past 34 years, the Hyde Amendment has been used to ban the federal government from spending money on abortion with very few exceptions. The Hyde restrictions make it extremely difficult for poor and low-income women to finance abortion services and severely limit their right to reproductive healthcare.
How does Hyde affect a woman, the family she is working to take care of, and her community? Those are the questions the Center for Reproductive Right's report, WHOSE CHOICE? How the Hyde Amendment Harms Poor Women, answers as it documents just how damaging this policy has been and promises to be.
The U.S. government has a responsibility to respect and ensure each person's right to autonomy, particularly the right to make fundamental decisions about childbearing and family, and to access medical services necessary to lead a healthy life. This report exposes the harms perpetrated by the Hyde Amendment. The interviews with women, abortion clinic counselors, and abortion fund staff described in this report offer insight into the struggles that low-income women endure to pay for their abortions, often forgoing basic necessities for themselves and their families and risking their health. In making a case for repeal, this report also discusses the successes and challenges of a few states that allow state funds to cover abortion.
Right now, a bill called the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" is picking up traction in Congress. It seeks to put the Hyde Amendment permanently on the books while in effect extending bans on coverage for abortion to the private sector. Introduced by Representative Chris Smith (R-N.J.), the bill reaches even further than Hyde and, amongst other things:
- Codifies the Hyde Amendment and permanently denies low-income women, federal employees, and military women abortion coverage
- Effectively ends abortion coverage in private employer policies
- Could undermine women's access to life-saving emergency abortions at state and local public hospitals
The bill already has more than 170 co-sponsors and is picking up traction in the House. We need to stop this bill RIGHT NOW.
For 34 years, the Hyde Amendment has denied poor women the ability to make their own decisions about whether and when to have children by prohibiting federal Medicaid funding for abortions except in very limited circumstances. By singling out abortion coverage from other health care services provided by Medicaid, the Hyde Amendment imposes severe financial hardship on poor women. The struggle to raise funds force many women to delay obtaining services and have later abortions. Others are forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term.
You can get involved and help the Center repeal Hyde by simply posting a Tweet or telling your friends about this report on Facebook. Explore the options below and make a difference today.
Note: On the Vimeo site, just scroll over the video and look for the "embed" button on the right side of the frame.
Political attacks on pregnant women seeking abortions are direct assaults on women’s autonomy. Fight back with us: http://bit.ly/ckTEXn
Low-income pregnant women seeking an abortion are living in agony, waiting 2 – 3 weeks to obtain an abortion. It doesn’t have to be this way! Read more at http://bit.ly/cztjis
Emotional and financial hardship are just part of the suffering caused by the Hyde Amendment over the last 34 years. And things will get worse if we don't act: http://bit.ly/ckTEXn
The Hyde Amendment disregards the basic rights of disadvantaged women who happen to be pregnant in the U.S. Read more at http://bit.ly/cztjis
Check out a timeline of the Hyde Amendment, which has routinely denied women their basic right to obtain an abortion and continues to affect women nationwide. Read more at http://bit.ly/dyakw3
34 years of the Hyde Amendment and women still suffer quietly. Let’s break the silence: http://bit.ly/cztjis #p2 #fem2 #hyde
To see what 34 years of suffering under the Hyde Amendment looks like, check this out: http://bit.ly/chRSGf #p2 #fem2 #hyde
58% of Medicaid-eligible women say paying for abortion creates serious hardship. Who’s to blame? http://bit.ly/chRSGf #p2 #fem2 #hyde
Help us spread the word
about how dangerous the Hyde amendment has been and promises to continue to be by asking your friends and
family to join the conversation.
Organization: Hyde—30 Years is Enough
Description: a network of grassroots groups that help women and girls pay for abortions
Opportunities: Attend/ participate in advocacy campaigns / donate
Organization: New York Abortion Access Fund
Description: NYAAF (New York Abortion Access Fund) is an all-volunteer organization based in NY
Opportunities: Volunteer for NYAAF or donate
Organization: Chicago Abortion Fund
Description: Chicago abortion fund fights to overturn economic barriers to reproductive choice.
Organization: National Network of Abortion Funds
Description: An organization that believes that the legal right to abortion is only meaningful when women have the resources to obtain abortion services.
Opportunities: Become a volunteer with the local Abortion Fund or donate
Organization: Abortion Access Project
Description: The Abortion Access Project is committed to access to safe abortion for all women in the U.S.