The Hyde Amendment is 45 Years Old Today – it has got to go!
It is 2021 and we are all tired. Tired from a global pandemic that has killed millions of people, and disproportionately harmed those facing the most barriers to care including Black and Indigenous folks. Tired from continued violence at the hands of police. Tired from an insurrection. Tired from the onslaught of attacks on abortion from state legislatures. And tired from a Supreme Court whose inaction allows a blatantly unconstitutional law to effectively nullify Roe v. Wade’s protections for our communities in Texas.
There is too much going on and nobody has time for discriminatory, bad policy like the Hyde Amendment and related restrictions such as the Helms and Weldon Amendments.
These harmful policy riders added to annual appropriations bills withhold coverage of abortion for those who get their health care through the federal government, including those enrolled in Medicaid, federal employees, Native American people receiving care through Indian Health Services, and people serving in the military, among others.
The Hyde Amendment is super racist. And we are TIRED of it. It disproportionately harms Black, Brown, 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.
Dr. Jamila Perritt testified before Congress about the Hyde Amendment and our network of providers sees this harm first hand every day.
Current LTA Fellow, Dr. Rebecca Simon shares her perspective here:
“As a physician with Indian Health Service working in rural New Mexico, I see the harms of the Hyde Amendment play out nearly every day. Instead of being able to provide abortion care within my hospital even in the case of rape, incest, or harm to the patient, I must refer patients to clinics more than two hours away. Due to barriers such as transportation and cost, this inevitably leads to delays in care or may even influence a patient’s reproductive decisions. My rural Indigenous patients suffer from high rates of sexual assault, maternal mortality and morbidity as compared to white patients. Lack of access to full spectrum reproductive health care in their own communities due to Hyde contributes to these disparities. Rural New Mexicans believe in patient autonomy when it comes to abortion but due to Hyde the option of abortion is not available to all, based on where they get their care.”
Thankfully, there is more support for getting rid of the Hyde Amendment once and for all than there has ever been. This summer, the House of Representatives – for the first time in decades – passed a federal spending bill WITHOUT the Hyde Amendment and related abortion coverage restrictions. Which is a big deal. This moment came after decades of leadership from women of color, including advocates on the ground and our fierce partner organizations like All* Above All. And we couldn’t have done this without the hard work of Congresspeople like Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) who has been fighting to end Hyde since it was first enacted.
Although the majority is with us and agrees Hyde needs to be done for – we just aren’t there yet. The Senate still needs to wake up and join the House and pass a spending bill without Hyde and related restrictions. So tell them you’re tired of this ish! Tell them you are tired of seeing bad policy continue to be put into place and it’s high time we stop marking the birthday of such a harmful and racist policy. Sign this petition to demand abortion justice now.
Thanks for standing with us as we work to stop harmful coverage bans, we’ll keep you posted on how else you can engage with us.
Until next time,
Rebecca Simon, MD, Leadership Training Academy Fellow, Class of 2022
MiQuel Davies, Assistant Director of Public Policy