Obama Budget Calls for Expanded Abortion Coverage for D.C. Women and Peace Corps Volunteers, but Still Leaves Millions of Low-Income Women Behind

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(PRESS RELEASE) President Barack Obama's proposed FY2015 budget released today shows mixed support for equal health care coverage for women who need affordable, medically necessary abortion services.

Today’s proposal includes critical steps allowing the District of Columbia to use its own locally-raised funds to cover abortion services for low-income women and a fix to permit coverage for abortion services for Peace Corps volunteers in the cases of life endangerment, rape, and incest—which would provide women in the Peace Corps the same limited coverage available to federal employees, immigration detainees, and military servicewomen. These changes were also recommended as part of President Obama’s FY2014 budget proposal, but ultimately rejected by Congress.

However, the President’s budget once again retains the long-standing harmful restriction known as the Hyde Amendment, which bans coverage for abortion in the Medicaid program except under the extremely limited circumstances of life endangerment, rape, and incest.

Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:

"We commend the President for calling on Congress to end the long-standing discrimination that has acted as an often insurmountable roadblock to medically necessary abortion services for women serving in the Peace Corps and low-income women living in D.C.

“However, by allowing the cruel restrictions of the Hyde Amendment to remain in place, millions of poor women all across the U.S. who depend on federal health insurance plans will continue to face these politically motivated and discriminatory roadblocks to exercise their constitutional right to an abortion.

“Every woman deserves coverage for the full range of medical necessary pregnancy care—including abortion services—regardless of who provides her health insurance or how much money she makes. Holding back these essential benefits from women in need for political reasons is just unconscionable and needs to end now.”