President Joe Biden’s 2023 budget proposalMarch 28th, without the 40-year-old restrictive clause known by the Hyde Amendment, was released. This is the second year Biden has removed the controversial amendment which denies coverage for abortion for Medicaid recipients. Public support for ending Hyde has reached an all-time high. nearly six in 10Americans support coverage of abortion through health insurance, public or private. Advocates for abortion rights believe that Hyde will not be a part of the budget and that legislators will not bring back the amendment. appease conservative lawmakersLike during the 2022 spending bill negotiations.
“We applaud the Biden administration for its recommitment to ending the Hyde Amendment by removing this decades-old policy, which disproportionately harms people of color working to make ends meet, from its budget,” said Morgan Hopkins, the interim executive director of campaigns and strategies at All* Above All. “It’s a significant step forward to ending a decades-old policy.”
The Hyde Amendment has been included in annual spending bills since 1976, three years after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of abortion rights in 1973’s Roe v. Wade. Former Republican Rep. Henry Hyde introduced Hyde Amendment as an amendment to the budget. He was very clear about his intent when the amendment was passed. quotedIt was said that the amendment was the best tool to limit abortion access. Since then, the amendment has been included every year and prohibits federal funds from being used to cover abortions for people enrolled in Medicaid, Medicare, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
“We often say that [Hyde] is the original abortion ban,” Hopkins said. “We really need to see bold action from all of our elected officials to end this harmful policy.”
People most affected by Hyde were historically communities of colour. According to the Guttmacher InstitutePeople of color who are in their reproductive years are more likely to have low incomes or to be covered by Medicaid. Between 2016 and 2019, 29.9% of Black women and 25.5% of Latinx women were enrolled into Medicaid. Half of all women in the same age bracket with incomes below poverty line were covered by Medicaid. 62% of Black women had incomes below poverty line were also covered by Medicaid.
“Systemic racism, economic insecurity, and immigration status multiply the barriers to abortion care,” Hopkins said. “Folks who are enrolled in Medicaid are disproportionately people of color because of the way that capitalism and systemic racism work. Abortion care is an economic justice issue and a racial justice issue.”
In a testimony given to We Testify, an organization that amplifies abortion experiences, Brittany Mostiller, a 35-year-old woman from Illinois, said she had to figure out how to pay $900 out of pocket — more money than she made in a month — for an abortion because Medicaid would not cover the procedure. She was 22 years old at the time, a mother to three daughters, working a part-time job at a grocery store, and she knew she could not afford another child “physically, emotionally, or financially,” she said in her testimony.
“The decision to have an abortion was the easy part — but I couldn’t afford it,” Mostiller said in her testimony.
Mostiller took several weeks to save for the Illinois procedure. This meant that she had to wait until she was further along in her pregnancy before she could pay the $900.
“This was a really challenging and disheartening experience,” Mostiller said. “Millions of people live in states that are hostile to abortion. I experienced firsthand the panic and worry of not being sure of whether I’d be able to get the abortions I wanted because I couldn’t afford them. Medicaid insurance has been a health care lifeline for me and my family — including when I chose to become a parent. We need to make sure that everyone on Medicaid is able to decide if, when, and how to grow their families without fear of that decision being taken away from them simply because insurance won’t cover it.”
Since Mostiller’s abortion, Illinois has becomeOne of the 16 states that allow people enrolled in Medicaid coverage to have abortion coverage. The procedure is not covered by Medicaid in 34 states or the District of Columbia. access abortion fundsTo pay for abortion costs, which could include medication, transportation, and lodging, if necessary.
“There is a web of barriers to abortion care that would also have to be addressed for people to truly be able to access care,” Hopkins said. “That includes making sure that clinics can stay open and making sure that if people have to travel, they can move freely. Ideally, people wouldn’t have to travel far for abortion care. So it’s one step forward, and we know that there’s larger changes that would still have to happen for people to fully be able to access abortion care.”
With the Supreme Court’s June decision on abortion, the fate of abortion rights is in jeopardy. Conservative states are also at risk. passing abortion bansAbortion rights advocates are moving at an alarming pace and see the elimination of the Hyde Amendment to expand and guarantee abortion access as a win. They hope that Congress will support this momentum. Steny Hoyer, House Majority leader hopes to passThe House of Representatives passed the 2023 Appropriations Bill by June 31st.
“With states like Texas, Idaho, Florida, and many others pushing abortion care out of reach, this critical moment we are in demands bold action from all of our elected officials,” Hopkins said. “We now look to Congress to carry this momentum and pass federal spending bills without Hyde and coverage bans. Abortion justice can’t wait.”
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