Washington, D.C. — Forty years ago this Friday, lawmakers passed the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits Medicaid from covering abortion care, except in limited cases of rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is in danger. Ahead of the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment’s passage, the Center for American Progress released an issue brief and infographic illustrating how the Hyde Amendment has perpetuated inequality in abortion access by limiting access to safe, legal abortion for millions of low-income women, young women, and women of color. CAP also released a column examining the broad support within faith communities for repealing the Hyde Amendment.
For 40 years, the Hyde Amendment has been approved annually in the federal appropriations process. By restricting the Medicaid program from covering this vital service, safe, legal abortion is often unaffordable and therefore inaccessible for millions of women. To make matters worse, the Hyde Amendment has become the basis for additional bans on federal funding that impact millions more women and their families.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has long affirmed a woman’s constitutional right to abortions. Yet under prohibitive restrictions like the Hyde Amendment, millions of women are effectively denied the right to access a safe and legal abortion,” said Heidi Williamson, Senior Policy Analyst for the Women’s Health and Rights Program at CAP. “The effects of Hyde and similar restrictions are most acutely felt among the nation’s most vulnerable women, making this not only a reproductive justice issue but also an economic justice issue.”
In order to ensure that all women have access to the reproductive health care they deserve—including access to affordable, safe, and timely abortion—CAP calls for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment. Additionally, policymakers should pass the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance, or EACH Woman, Act, which aims to ensure abortion coverage through all government-sponsored health insurance plans, including Medicaid; pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would prohibit federal, state, or local government from imposing medically unnecessary limitations on abortion care; and repeal restrictions on federal funding of abortion through U.S. foreign aid.
“It’s time for politicians to stop interfering with women’s health care decisions,” said Jamila K. Taylor, Senior Fellow at CAP. “Restrictions on access to abortion do nothing but drive women into desperate situations by pushing safe medical care out of reach. In turn, women suffer, families suffer, and broader society suffers.”
The following CAP experts are available to comment on the impact of the Hyde Amendment and how policymakers can ensure that safe, legal abortion is affordable and accessible for all women:
- Carmel Martin, Executive Vice President, Policy
- Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice President, External Affairs
- Shilpa Phadke, Senior Director, Women’s Initiative
- Dr. Jamila K. Taylor, Senior Fellow
- Heidi Williamson, Senior Policy Analyst, Women’s Health and Rights Program
- Claire Markham, Associate Director, Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative
Read the issue brief: The Hyde Amendment Has Perpetuated Inequality in Abortion Access for 40 Years by Heidi Williamson and Jamila Taylor
Read the infographic: The Real Cost of Abortion by Heidi Williamson
Read the column: Hearing Faith Voices Raised Against Hyde by Tracy Wolf
For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Chelsea Kiene at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.478.5328.