It is 2023, and we are so over talking about the Hyde Amendment. For the past 47 years (yeah, you read that right, 47!), the Hyde Amendment has been blocking the federal government from paying for essential, lifesaving, and everyday health care.
I’m tired, you’re tired, we are all tired of the federal government blocking coverage of abortion care.
The Hyde Amendment has done nothing but hurt people seeking abortion care for forty-seven years and it’s time for the policy to be put to bed and for the federal government to step up and actually protect abortion access.
Congress, each year, chooses to include the Hyde Amendment in the annual appropriations bill. This means each year, they have the opportunity and the ability to remove Hyde from the Labor-Health and Human Services funding bill.
It’s outrageous that the Hyde Amendment continues to stand in the way of the abortion care our communities need. The Hyde Amendment and other similar harmful policy riders, including the Helms and Weldon Amendments, are added each year to the annual appropriations bill in order to withhold coverage of abortion for those who get their health care through the federal government, including those enrolled in Medicaid, Medicare, federal employees, Indigenous people receiving care through Indian Health Services, and people serving in the military, among others.
President & CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health, Dr. Jamila Perritt, has testified before Congress about the Hyde Amendment and the harms anti-abortion federal policies have on patients.
The Hyde Amendment is also super racist. And we are done putting up with it. It disproportionately harms Black and Brown people, Indigenous people, young people, those living in rural areas, and people with low incomes, all who are more likely to rely on government-sponsored insurance for coverage because of systemic barriers and inequities.
Bans on abortion funding make it extremely difficult for people to access necessary health care. Health care in the U.S. is absurdly expensive (don’t get us started), and many people rely on health insurance to afford care. Health care is a human right, and we shouldn’t have to rely on insurance coverage to afford basic care, but that is the system we currently live in (don’t worry, we are fighting to change that too).
Abortion care is not unique and can be prohibitively expensive for people without coverage. However, lawmakers love to treat abortion care like it is something separate from the rest of health care. Hyde allows them to continue to do so by prohibiting federal funds from being used for basic health care services like abortions.
Thankfully, there is growing support for protecting abortion access on the federal level. The EACH Act and the Abortion Justice Act (AJA), which incorporates the EACH Act, work to increase access to abortion care for everyone.
The EACH Act focused on ensuring that the federal government provides coverage for abortion care.
The AJA builds on this groundwork and is even more expansive in its protections of abortion care! Some of the many AJA highlights include requiring insurance coverage of abortion care, addressing discrimination and systemic racism within the medical system, and affirms the legal right to abortion care!
Members of Congress are also stepping up to work towards expanding healthcare access for marginalized communities who have been historically left out, including immigrants. The Health, Equity, and Access under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Families Act works to ensure immigrants get the health coverage they need.
The federal government has the chance to do something really cool and actively step up and protect abortion and healthcare access by getting rid of the Hyde Amendment and enacting progressive legislation like the AJA and the HEAL Act. This legislation working together would help get us to a world where everyone can get the care they need.
Thanks for standing with us as we work to stop harmful coverage bans and to increase access to abortion care throughout the U.S. We’ll keep you posted on how else you can connect with us.
Until next time (but hopefully not for another Hyde Anniversary),
If/When/How Federal Reproductive Justice Fellow