For Immediate Release: September 30, 2020
Washington, DC — Today marks 44 years since the enactment of the racist, discriminatory ban on abortion coverage known as the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment bans coverage for abortion care for those who receive their health insurance through the federal government, including those who are insured through Medicaid, Indigenous communities, and women who are incarcerated or in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.
Abortion coverage bans like the Hyde Amendment disproportionately hurt people already harmed by disparities in our healthcare systems, especially Black and Brown women, transgender and non-binary people, and those with lower incomes. Especially at a moment when our fundamental freedoms are under unprecedented attack, it is past time to end this racist coverage ban.
“From its start, this unjust and racist law has placed a disproportionate burden on Black and brown women, Indigenous women, and rural women. It has been a barrier to accessing care for over 44 years. Ending this policy is an issue of justice, plain and simple,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “Access to abortion care shouldn’t depend on where you live or how much money is in your bank account. We know that true reproductive freedom cannot be achieved until every body is free to make their own decisions about their bodies, their lives, and their futures.
The Hyde Amendment was put into place three years after Roe as a way to block access to abortion care for low income women. In his introduction of this discriminatory policy, Henry Hyde flat out said that if he could outlaw abortion for everyone he would, but he would settle for placing it out of reach for poor women.”
Bans on abortion coverage like the anti-choice Hyde Amendment disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC)– access to healthcare, especially for these communities, is more important than ever in the midst of a pandemic that has led to more than 200,000 lives lost in the U.S. and staggering unemployment numbers.
This anniversary comes during a momentous year—an invigorated Movement for Black Lives, an unprecedented pandemic, and imperatives for economic justice. It also comes at a moment when the future of reproductive freedom is front and center: Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Senate Republicans are conspiring to install another Trump ideologue to the Supreme Court with the explicit intention of decimating our rights. Their unpopular anti-choice agenda could not be more out of step with the majority of Americans who support reproductive freedom. Support for abortion rights is at an all-time high and polling confirms reproductive freedom is a major galvanizing issue for Democratic and Independent voters. An overwhelming majority, 77% of Americans, support Roe v. Wade and the legal right to abortion in the United States.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters have fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom—including access to abortion, contraception, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 7 in 10 Americans who believe every person should have the freedom to make the best decision for themselves about if, when, and how to raise a family.