Today marks the first day of the first-ever United for Coverage Week of Action to repeal the 1976 Hyde Amendment.

The Hyde Amendment denies abortion coverage to people who get their health insurance through federal programs such as federal employees, Native Americans, and the largest targeted group of reproductive age, low-income individuals on Medicaid.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, nearly 1 in 6 women of reproductive age is enrolled in Medicaid. Of these women, 60 percent live in a state that forbids Medicaid coverage of abortion, meaning they have to pay an average of over $350 out of pocket to access an abortion. This substantial burden forces one in four poor women who wish to terminate an unwanted pregnancy to carry to term.

Hyde essentially creates two separate categories of American women: those who can afford to access their constitutional rights and those who cannot. Because anti-abortion politicians have not been able to overturn Roe v. Wade, and deny abortion to all women, they have purposely chosen a policy that targets poor people.

Last week, the House Judiciary Committee’s Republican-chaired Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice held a hearing on the Hyde Amendment during which they reiterated that the goal of the provision was to restrict poor women from accessing abortion. Representative Ron Desantis (R-FL) compared the out of pocket cost women pay for abortions as equivalent to a tax on cigarettes: it is meant as a deterrent.

Unfortunately this “deterrent” can push vulnerable people and families further into poverty, and create an almost insurmountable barrier to accessing safe, legal healthcare.

The Feminist Majority Foundation is participating in the All Above All movement to raise awareness about the impact of Hyde and advocate for the passing of the Each Woman Act. Stay tuned to this week’s Newswire and learn more here.

Media Resources: All Above All; Feminist Majority Foundation 9/23/16

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