a bird and a bottle

Time to Get Rid of the Hyde Amendment
November 21, 2006, 10:35 am
Filed under: feminism/s & gender, politics

Thirty years ago, Congress passed the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits all federal funding for abortions. The measure excluded abortion from the otherwise comphrehensive healthcare provided under Medicaid. The Hyde Amendment makes no provision for when a pregnancy presents a serious threat to a woman’s health, and with 30 states also banning public funding for abortion, many women are left with a false choice: carry an unwanted pregnancy to term and the government will pay for your prenatal care*, or try to scrape together the $500 or so required to pay for a first-trimester abortion. The Hyde Amendment further punishes women who work in public service (for the federal government, for the military) by denying them the coverage that other women may have under their private plans. Despite all this, the Supreme Court upheld the Hyde Amendment in 1980 in Harris v. McRae.

This year, grassroots reproductive justice groups are banding together to overturn the Hyde Amendment as part of the National Network of Abortion Funds’ Hyde – 3o Years is Enough! campaign. Over 100 community-based groups that provide funding for low-income women seeking abortions are participating in this Boston-based coalition.

You can take part too by sending a letter to your Representative.

* Note that under the State Child Health Insurance Program guidelines provided by the federal government, when an indigent woman receives prenatal care, it is through child health insurance, meaning that it is the fetus who is the primary patient. Care to the woman who carries the fetus is secondary.


1 Comment so far
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Working to overturn the Hyde amendment is no doubt a noble effort. Is it realistic? How close would the vote be today? Who are the swing legislators? Which legislators could lead the effort? Is it a good use of the movement’s capital – financial, social or otherwise? How will 2008 figure into this legislation (and vice versa)? Would love to hear more.
(Berlin rocks. Have a great time.)

Comment by professorplum

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