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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

Without Hyde limits, the biggest changes might be seen in left-leaning states, like Colorado or Delaware, that currently do not cover most abortions under Medicaid except for the three allowed circumstances.

Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia do not cover abortion except under the three Hyde exceptions for individuals with federal coverage. Additionally, South Dakota, the only state with abortion funding restrictions more restrictive than Hyde, covers abortion under Medicaid only when necessary to protect the life of the woman.

The Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights, estimates that 7.8 million women of reproductive age are covered by Medicaid in these 34 states and D.C., and half of them are women of color.

Elizabeth Nash, interim associate director of state issues at the Guttmacher Institute, said any changes to allow more abortion funding would not have an immediate effect.

For instance, abortion providers would only be paid if they are Medicaid providers. Nash said state officials who oppose abortion could make it harder for providers to become Medicaid providers or increase red tape.

“I really do think that the lag time will unfortunately be an issue,” she said.

 

Guttmacher national data also shows that among women of reproductive age, 29% of Black women and 25% of Hispanic women had Medicaid coverage in 2019. That number drops to 15% for white women and 12% for Asian women.

Researchers at the Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, or ANSIRH, program within the University of California, San Francisco’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health conducted a national study of individuals who were searching online for abortions.

The April study found that residents of states that do not have broad Medicaid coverage of abortion faced more financial barriers and spent more time seeking an abortion. It found Black and Latina women were more likely than white and Asian women to still be pregnant and seeking an abortion when followed up with four weeks later.

“These findings indicate that restoring federal Medicaid coverage of abortion by repealing the Hyde Amendment would remove an often insurmountable barrier to abortion care for low-income people,” the researchers wrote.

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