Jul 12, 2021
Reproductive rights advocates welcomed the Monday advancement of a House funding bill that, for the first time in decades, does not include the Hyde Amendment.
"This is a huge win for our rights," tweeted the National Women's Law Center.
Affecting millions of women annually, the Hyde Amendment bars in most circumstances the coverage of abortion care under federal programs including the Children's Health Insurance Program and Medicaid.
The anti-choice policy, as KFFnoted earlier this year, "is not a permanent law, but rather has been attached as a temporary 'rider' to the Congressional appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and has been renewed annually by Congress" since 1976. "For many low-income women," KFF added, "the lack of Medicaid coverage for abortion is effectively an abortion ban."
Speaking on the House floor ahead of the $253.8 billion spending bill's advancement, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said she was "especially proud that this bill advances equal treatment for women not only by increasing funding for the range of health services, including family planning, covered by Title X, but also by repealing the discriminatory Hyde Amendment."
"Regardless of the original intent of Hyde," said DeLauro, "it has disproportionately impacted women of color and it has ultimately led to more unintended pregnancies and later, riskier, and more costly abortions."
"Quite frankly," she continued, "allowing the Hyde Amendment to remain on the books is a disservice not only to our constituents but also to the values that we espouse as a nation. We are finally doing what is right for our mothers, our families, and our communities by striking this discriminatory amendment once and for all."
The bill also leaves out the Weldon Amendment, a provision that allows healthcare entities to refuse to cover abortion care.
The House Appropriations Committee's move sparked a flurry of cheers from progressive groups like the Center for Reproductive Rights.
"For more than 40 years," said the organization's president and CEO Nancy Northup, "bans on abortion coverage, including the Hyde amendment and related restrictions, have denied insurance coverage of abortion for people working to make ends meet."
"This historic step would not have been possible without the leadership of women of color, who have been organizing in their communities and educating elected leaders for years on the impact of this policy and why it must be eliminated," she added.
President Joe Biden, who previously supported the Hyde Amendment, won progressive praise in May after he released a budget plan omitting the provision.
At the time, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus co-chair, called the development "great news," and said that Biden "has become the first president in decades to remove the Hyde Amendment from the budget, helping advance our fight to end this racist and discriminatory policy once and for all."
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