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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

ANSIRH data from a 2018 report showed that women who end up giving birth instead of getting a wanted abortion saw an almost fourfold increase in the odds that their household income was below the federal poverty level.

Kaiser Family Foundation data suggests that if abortion coverage were available across Medicaid, more women would have abortions. But the number of Medicaid-funded abortions would depend on factors like the number and availability of local abortion providers, state-level restrictions on abortion, income demographics and local reimbursement rates.

For some low-income women, not having coverage of abortion serves as a de facto ban.

A 2019 peer-reviewed study in BMC Women’s Health showed that in Louisiana, 29% of pregnant women who qualify for Medicaid would have had an abortion if it were covered.

Destiny Lopez, co-president of All Above All, which supports repealing the Hyde Amendment, called abortion access in the U.S. “a patchwork and a puzzle.”

“You have created an unfair and unjust system because women with means will always be able to get an abortion in this country,” Lopez said.

Hyde Amendment supporters see it differently.

Michael New, a research associate of political science and social research at The Catholic University of America and Charlotte Lozier Institute associate scholar, does not want Hyde removed.

The Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the conservative Susan B. Anthony List, estimates that the Hyde Amendment resulted in 2,409,311 births from 1976 to 2020.

“I think that researchers, both pro-life and researchers who support legal abortion, pretty much all agree that the Hyde Amendment lowers the abortion rate and saves lives,” he said.

 

He disagrees that Hyde singles out certain people.

“Hyde is a policy that encourages women to seek life-affirming alternatives like pregnancy help centers and other resources for support. I don’t think Hyde is targeting people. I think it’s protecting people,” New said.

The fight over the Hyde Amendment is just beginning. The House Appropriations Committee advanced its fiscal 2022 Labor-HHS-Education spending bill on July 15, with all Republicans voting against the measure.

“It’s my hope that members on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers can negotiate spending that is responsible and will not lead to financial disaster. But the first step toward negotiation is the full reinstatement of the Hyde Amendment,” said House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations ranking member Tom Cole, R-Okla., who offered an amendment during the markup to restore Hyde language into the bill.

It was rejected, with only one Democrat, Henry Cuellar of Texas, voting for it.

Senate Republicans already said they won’t support a spending bill without Hyde language.

Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., an appropriator, went to the House markup to show his support for the language. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also spoke on the Senate floor last week in favor of Hyde limits.

Republican opposition to changing this policy has not stopped Democrats from moving forward, which has the blessing of President Joe Biden. Biden had supported Hyde before announcing in 2019 he had changed his stance.

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