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Hyde Amendment fight just the first step in changing abortion coverage

Sandhya Raman, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

A 2019 Government Accountability Office report, using state-reported numbers, said the average number of abortions eligible for federal funding per year between 2013 and 2017 was about 1,339 or fewer.

But the number acknowledges various gaps in data, including for several states and for services covered by managed care.

Separate data from 2014 shows that in states that follow Hyde restrictions, Medicaid covered only 1.5% of abortions.

“There’s very few cases of Medicaid paying for abortion in the Hyde states. Even for the cases of rape, incest and life endangerment, it’s very few abortions being paid for because you have to jump through a whole bunch of hoops to get it covered,” said Sobel.

Meanwhile, the overall number of abortions performed in the United States has been falling.

Still, the fight over abortion restrictions will likely be a major flashpoint in appropriations debates and on the campaign trail. The House is expected to vote next week on a package of seven fiscal 2022 spending bills that will omit the Hyde limits. It’s unlikely that Republicans will sign on without the restrictions.

 

Democrats say repealing the Hyde Amendment would remove barriers for low-income women and women of color who are disproportionately affected by the ban.

But Republicans say the Hyde Amendment protects the rights of taxpayers who oppose abortion and has increased the nation’s birth rate.

States can use their own funding to provide abortion coverage for Medicaid and CHIP outside of the three Hyde Amendment exceptions, but only 16 do, including Illinois, Maryland and New York.

California is the most populous state that covers abortion broadly. Enrollees don’t pay out-of-pocket costs or have to give medical justification.

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