September 30th will mark the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment. To mark this special occasion, advocates have launched the first-ever United for Abortion Coverage Week of Action (September 25th– October 1st).

WHAT IS THE HYDE AMENDMENT AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?

The Hyde Amendment bans Medicaid coverage of abortion. The Hyde Amendment is especially significant in communities of color because it severely impacts the ability of low-income women and women of color to safe abortion access.

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Planned Parenthood, a leader in the reproductive justice fight, shares the facts:

  • 15.6 million women (ages 19 to 64) have Medicaid coverage.

  • Medicaid provides coverage to 1 in 5 women of reproductive age (15-44).

  • Due to the structural inequalities in our country that link racism, sexism, and economic inequality, women of color disproportionately comprise the majority of Medicaid enrollees.

  • 30% of Black women and 24% of Hispanic women are enrolled in Medicaid, compared to 14% of white women.

  • Restrictions on Medicaid coverage of abortion forces one in four poor women seeking abortion to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

  • A woman who wants to get an abortion but is denied is more likely to fall into poverty than one who can get an abortion.

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But the Hyde Amendment doesn’t only affect those who have Medicaid, since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has expanded:

  • The Hyde Amendment has been extended to deny coverage to federal employees and their dependents, military service members, Native Americans, Peace Corps volunteers, immigrants, and residents of Washington, D.C.
  • As a result of the Hyde Amendment and similar restrictions, nearly 29 million women of reproductive age do not have insurance coverage for abortion.

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Activists have been working tirelessly to repeal the Hyde Amendment, and show that the general public overwhelmingly supports the repeal of the Hyde Amendment. A recent poll of eligible voters in battleground states found that a majority of voters support a bill that would require Medicaid to cover all pregnancy-related care, including abortion. Not surprisingly, millennial voters and voters of color in battleground states are among the strongest potential allies for repealing this anti-women, anti-choice law.

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California Congresswoman Barbara Lee, a Democrat, has introduced the EACH Woman Act, which would lift the Hyde Amendment. The bill has over 100 cosponsors and the support of countless women’s health, justice and advocacy organizations. Congresswoman Lee says, “However we feel about abortion, none of us, especially elected officials, should be interfering with a woman’s healthcare decision just because she is poor.”

On the other side, those who are against abortion access have been working overtime to pass abortion restrictions all over the country, as Kierra Johnson, the Executive Director, Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (URGE) explains, “In the last four years, anti-choice politicians have passed a record-breaking number of restrictions on abortion with the sole intent of pushing it out of reach. Too often women’s basic health care is traded away for politics and compromise. Young people are demanding better, organizing on campus and in communities to put an end to needless political interference in our decision-making.”

Photo credit: Flickr: Stephen Melkisethian

Photo credit: Flickr: Stephen Melkisethian

This week All* Above All (a campaign dedicated to lifting bans that deny abortion coverage)is hosting the first-ever United for Abortion Coverage Week of Action from September 25th to October 1st, 2016.

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“We have a bold vision—that each of us to should be able to make decisions about pregnancy and parenting that are best for our families without political interference – and voters agree,” said Destiny Lopez, co-chair of All* Above All. “Across the country, people are FIRED up and taking bold and creative action. We’re ready to bring the shameful era of the Hyde Amendment to an end.”

Join the first-ever United for Abortion Coverage Week of Action this week! From September 25th– October 1st!

If you support ending restrictions to abortion access and support that women get healthcare coverage and access to safe abortions here’s what you can do:

Press your elected officials to repeal the Hyde Amendment so that the most vulnerable women have access to healthcare and have the power to decide what they do with their bodies.

Check out #BeBoldEndHyde on Twitter and participate in the conversation and let’s #BeBoldEndHyde !

Featured pic credit: Flicker/AllAboveAll