Obama Budget Continues Discriminatory Abortion Coverage Restrictions for Low-Income Women, But Would Restore Limited Coverage for D.C. Women

For Immediate Release

Obama Budget Continues Discriminatory Abortion Coverage Restrictions for Low-Income Women, But Would Restore Limited Coverage for D.C. Women

WASHINGTON - The Center for Reproductive Rights expressed disappointment today that President Barack Obama’s FY2016 budget retains a ban on abortion services for women receiving health care through the federal government by restricting Medicaid coverage for abortion in only extremely limited circumstances—a policy also known as the Hyde Amendment.

However, the Center was pleased that today’s budget included important steps toward expanding and promoting reproductive health care coverage, such as fixing an unfair federal policy barring the District of Columbia from using its own locally-raised funds to cover abortion services for low-income women.

Further, the President’s budget increased funding for Title X by $13.5 million over FY15. Title X is the only federal program dedicated to providing family-planning services, including preventive care, cancer screenings, testing for infectious diseases, and contraception, for millions of low-income people.

Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“It is deeply disappointing to see this nation, year after year, renew the vast financial roadblocks that stand between millions of women in the U.S. and the health care they need.

“It’s time we saw a budget that finally ensured every woman access to a full range of reproductive health care, including abortion, no matter where she lives, how much money she makes, or where she gets her health insurance.”

The Hyde Amendment, first enacted in 1976, currently prohibits coverage for abortion under the Medicaid program using federal funds, except in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment. If states wish to fund abortion beyond these narrow exceptions, they must pay the entire cost with state funds. Currently, 17 states use their own funds to cover additional abortion services for low-income women.

Despite the decision of the duly-elected leadership in the District of Columbia to use locally-raised funds to cover abortion services for Medicaid-eligible women, D.C. has been prevented from doing so by Congress, which approves the district's budget.

In response to the long-standing discriminatory bans on health care coverage for abortion, reproductive justice, health, and rights organizations launched a bold new campaign, All* Above All, to build support for lifting bans on abortion coverage that disproportionally harm low-income women and communities of color.

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The Center for Reproductive Rights uses the law to advance reproductive freedom as a fundamental human right that all governments are legally obligated to protect, respect, and fulfill.

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