For Immediate Release: Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Washington, DC — Today, the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held a hearing on the harms of the racist and discriminatory Hyde Amendment and related abortion coverage bans.
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue released the following statement in response:
“Discriminatory bans on abortion coverage like the Hyde Amendment are designed to push needed care out of reach—particularly for marginalized people who are already burdened by multiple structural barriers that block access to abortion. We must end this harmful policy in order to realize a future where reproductive freedom is a reality for every body, regardless of who they are or how much money they make. Pregnant people with low incomes and women of color must have access to reproductive healthcare that centers their dignity and decision making when they are trying to avoid unintended pregnancy, end a pregnancy, or give birth to healthy children.”
The Hyde Amendment refers to a series of bans on coverage of abortion care for those who receive their health insurance through the federal government, including those who are insured through Medicaid, Medicare and CHIP, federal employees and their dependents, military service members, veterans, and their dependents, Peace Corps volunteers, Indigenous communities, women who are incarcerated or held in immigration detention facilities, and people with low incomes in Washington, DC. 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.
Today’s hearing comes during a momentous year when an invigorated Movement for Black Lives, an unprecedented pandemic, and imperatives for economic justice have all taken center stage and highlighted a system that upholds white supremacy and perpetuates life-threatening racial disparities in healthcare, criminal justice, education, and more. It also comes at a moment when the future of reproductive freedom is front and center now that Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Senate Republicans rammed through the confirmation of Amy Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court and solidified an anti-choice supermajority on the Court hostile to Roe v. Wade. Their anti-choice, anti-freedom agenda could not be more out of step with the majority of Americans who support reproductive freedom. Polling shows that the majority of Americans support ending the Hyde Amendment and that 77% of Americans support the legal right to abortion.
In August, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that the Hyde Amendment would not be included in funding bills starting next year. U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), who convened today’s hearing and was elected last week as chair of the House committee that is responsible for funding the federal government’s functions, recently reiterated her commitment to ending the discriminatory budget amendment.
During the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, candidates including both President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris coalesced around the party’s core values by voicing their support for ending the Hyde Amendment’s ban on abortion coverage once and for all. In July, NARAL Pro-Choice America joined a national coalition of progressive groups in their successful effort to urge the Democratic Party to deepen its advocacy for reproductive freedom by reaffirming key proposals included in the 2016 platform such as ending the Hyde Amendment. Politicians should never be allowed to interfere and deny coverage for abortion care based on how much money somebody has or how they get their insurance.
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.