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Federal Government

Restrictions on Women Who Receive Health Insurance from the Government

LOW-INCOME WOMEN

Several federal laws, most notably the Hyde amendment, bar access to abortion care for most low-income women who rely on the federal government for their health care.  Women affected by these bans include clients of Medicaid, Medicare - which covers non-elderly disabled women of reproductive age - the State Children's Health Insurance Program, and the District of Columbia's public health-care programs.  As per the Hyde amendment, no federal funds may be used for abortion, with exceptions only to save a woman's life or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.  P.L. 111-117, 111th  Cong. (2009) (enacted annually since 1977). While all 50 states have the option of providing state funding for abortion services, Congress has used the appropriations process to block the District of Columbia from making its own decision on this issue.  Consequently, the District of Columbia is barred from using public funds for abortion care unless the procedure is necessary to save a woman's life or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.  Department of Health Care Finance at http://doh.dc.gov/doh/lib/doh/services/medicaid/pdf/statepln/supp._1_to_attachment_3.1-b_pp_1-16.pdf.  

MILITARY WOMEN

The military offers health-care coverage to military personnel, retirees and dependents through the TRICARE program (formerly known as the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS)), which is funded through the Department of Defense appropriations bill.  By law, the Department of Defense is prohibited from providing any abortion coverage, with an exception only to save a woman's life. 10 U.S.C. §1093.

INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE

The federal government provides funding for the Indian Health Service (IHS) program, a health-service-delivery system that serves approximately 1.5 million American Indians and Alaska Natives.  IHS law requires the program to follow the federal Medicaid restrictions with regard to abortion funding.  Consequently, no federal funds may be used for abortion, with exceptions only to save a woman's life or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.  P.L. 111-117, 111th  Cong. (2009) (enacted annually since 1977).

PEACE CORPS

The Peace Corps program is funded through the annual Foreign Operations appropriations bill.  Since 1979, appropriations riders have prohibited the use of funds to provide abortion services for volunteers and trainees, even in cases where a woman's life is in danger. P.L. 111-117, 111th  Cong. (2009).

CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES

Since 1995, the State, Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill, which provides funding for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, has prohibited the use of these funds to provide inmates at federal correctional institutions with abortion services, with exceptions only to save a woman's life or if the pregnancy is the result of rape. P.L. 111-117, 111th  Cong. (2009).  


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