Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, which denies abortion care for individuals who rely on Medicaid for their health care coverage. The law particularly harms low-income women and women of color, who are disproportionately insured by Medicaid.
Planned Parenthood of New York City strongly believes that every woman--regardless of their socioeconomic status, race or zip code--should have the ability to make decisions about abortion without barriers. A woman's decision about whether or not to end a pregnancy should not be based on her health insurance coverage or economic ability--her decision should be based on what is best for her and her family. The Hyde Amendment is nothing more than an intrusive and discriminatory restriction on insurance coverage for millions of low-income women and their families, and it is an example of politicians interfering with a woman's ability to make her own health care decisions.
Though the Hyde Amendment only bans federal funding and does not impact state Medicaid funding, the majority of states refuse to provide coverage for abortion care. New York is one of only 17 states that provides funding for abortion through Medicaid.
But we cannot take this for granted. Even here in New York City, we have elected officials that support legislation that would make it significantly harder for low-income women to access abortion. This year, Bronx Assembly Member and Bronx Democratic Party Chair, Marcos Crespos introduced legislation that would ban state Medicaid funding for abortion. In order to ensure that New York continues to fund the full range reproductive health care services, we must be vigilant about electing local officials who will protect access to abortion for everyone.
The fight to repeal the Hyde Amendment has been led for years by reproductive justice leaders and organizations like All* Above All, and their advocacy has centered on the experiences of women of color, low-income women, young people, immigrants, transgender people and gender nonconforming people when accessing abortion care.
And due largely to the work of our partners, there have been positive federal legislative actions taken in the fight to end Hyde. Last year, the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Woman Act which lifts abortion coverage restriction like the Hyde Amendment, was introduced. The EACH Woman Act would ensure that every woman-- no matter what state she lives in, her income level, or insurance coverage--can make her own decisions about her pregnancy and get the care she needs. Additionally, for the first time in history, we have a presidential candidate that has called to end Hyde if elected to office.
Repealing Hyde would be a historic shift for millions of Americans who for too long have faced significant financial barriers to accessing safe and legal abortion. On the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, Planned Parenthood of New York City is proud to stand with reproductive justice leaders and All* Above All in advocating for the repeal of this discriminatory amendment to ensure that all people have access to safe and legal abortion.