For Immediate Release: Sunday, July 11, 2021
For the first time in more than four decades, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies subcommittee released a spending bill without bans on coverage of abortion care
Washington, DC — Today, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) released a historic federal spending bill free of the Hyde Amendment’s discriminatory ban on coverage of abortion care for those who receive their health insurance through Medicaid. The bill also does not include the Weldon Amendment, which emboldens a broad variety of healthcare entities—including hospitals, insurance companies, and individual healthcare professionals—to deny care, coverage, or referrals for abortion. Also, the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies subcommittee released its spending bill without the Hyde Amendment’s ban on coverage of abortion care for pregnant people who are incarcerated.
NARAL Pro-Choice America Acting President Adrienne Kimmell released the following statement in response:
“This is a historic victory for reproductive freedom and this moment has been decades in the making. We extend our deepest gratitude to our partners in the reproductive justice movement and to the women of color who have led the fight to end these harmful bans on coverage of abortion care. Since its introduction, the Hyde Amendment has pushed access to care out of reach—disproportionately harming people of color working to make ends meet.
While this moment is a victory for access to abortion care, the stakes for reproductive freedom and abortion access are at an all-time high. Safeguarding the legal right to abortion and ensuring access to care must be a paramount priority for Congressional lawmakers. Now, Congress must pass these spending bills—and others free of bans on coverage of abortion care—to ensure that every body has access to the care they need, no matter how they are insured.”
For the first time in more than four decades, a federal spending bill free of the Hyde Amendment’s ban on Medicaid insurance coverage of abortion care was introduced by the House Appropriations Committee. Before this bill, Congress has included bans and restrictions on abortion coverage as policy riders in its federal spending bills. When in place, the Hyde Amendment disproportionately harms people who are already marginalized by our healthcare system, including women of color, young people, and transgender and non-binary people. Lifting the Hyde Amendment’s ban on coverage of abortion care for those who are insured through Medicaid and its ban on coverage of abortion care for pregnant people who are incarcerated, brings us one step closer to a world where every body has the freedom to make their own decisions about their future and health with dignity and respect.
This exciting news follows the House Committee on Appropriations recently voting to advance two other federal spending bills free of bans on coverage of abortion care, including the bans on coverage for District of Columbia residents, federal government employees, and Peace Corps volunteers. The State and Foreign Operations spending bill was also free of a global abortion restriction known as the Helms Amendment and included language to permanently block the global gag rule.
These victories for abortion access come as reproductive freedom faces a barrage of attacks. This year alone, anti-choice lawmakers have introduced, advanced, or passed more than 315 restrictions and attacks on abortion care at the state level. As of last week, over 90 restrictions on abortion access have been enacted at the state level, making 2021 the worst year for abortion rights since the landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade.
In the midst of these attacks, the U.S. Supreme Court announced in May that it will hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade that violates nearly 50 years of Supreme Court precedent. It is critical that Congress take action to protect access to abortion care—not only by ending harmful bans and restrictions on abortion care, but also by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act to safeguard the legal right to abortion in the United States before the Supreme Court decides on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health.
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.