By Cassy Fiano-Chesser
Pro-abortion lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced legislation that would permanently overturn the Hyde Amendment and require insurance coverage for abortion. In order to do this, they have painted Hyde, which has saved millions of lives — particularly those of women in poverty — as “racist” and “discriminatory.”
The Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act, or EACH Act, would allow Medicaid funding or any other government insurance plan to pay for abortion. The bill was introduced by Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who chairs the Pro-Choice Caucus’ (PCC) Abortion Rights and Access Task Force, along with other Democratic PCC members, Reps. Barbara Lee, Diana DeGette, and Jan Schakowsky.
“Our bodily autonomy is under attack nationwide and the racist and discriminatory Hyde Amendment is yet another barrier preventing millions from accessing safe and legal abortion care – particularly our Black, brown, low-income, and other marginalized communities,” Pressley said in a press release. “With Republicans’ ongoing assault on reproductive justice, we must use every tool available to affirm abortion care as the fundamental human right that it is.”
Schakowsky added, “The Hyde Amendment is a racist, discriminatory policy designed to put reproductive and economic freedom out of reach for women of color and low-income women who need an abortion. By restricting Medicaid coverage of abortion, the Hyde Amendment robs those working to make ends meet of the freedom to control their lives and decisions about what is best for their families.”
Though the Hyde Amendment has come under fire from pro-abortion legislators in recent years, it previously enjoyed decades of bipartisan support. Since 1976, the Hyde Amendment — a rider barring federal taxpayer dollars from funding most abortions — has been added to every federal appropriations bill.
Hyde is estimated to have saved millions of lives. Despite this, pro-abortion lawmakers push not only for the legality of abortion, but for taxpayers to foot the bill for the abortions. Polling has consistently found that Americans do not support taxpayer-funded abortion.
“Let’s be clear: the Hyde Amendment is blatantly racist and classist, and keeping it in place is yet another attempt by extremist, out-of-touch Republicans to strip people of this country of their reproductive freedom,” claimed Lee. “For over 40 years, Hyde has forced poor women who are denied insurance coverage for abortions to carry pregnancies to term or pay for care when they’re already struggling to make ends meet. With extreme abortion laws in place in half the country, it is more critical than ever that we fight to make abortion accessible wherever possible,” said Schakowsky.
In reality, the Hyde Amendment was meant to protect the children of the vulnerable and disadvantaged, and to protect taxpayers from paying for the deaths of innocent preborn children.