On Monday, the House Appropriations Labor and Health and Human Services subcommittee advanced a spending bill for the Department of Health and Human Services that does not include the Hyde Amendment.
The 1976 Hyde Amendment prohibits the use of federal funds, specifically Medicaid, for abortion care. It disproportionately affects women of color and low-income women who require Medicaid for their health care. The Hyde Amendment has never been excluded from an HHS spending bill until now.
This exclusion of the Hyde Amendment comes after President Biden released a $6 trillion federal budget plan in May that also does not include the Hyde Amendment.
In response to the President’s budget proposal, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) said, “we’re seeing real momentum towards repealing Hyde.”
“I know this is an issue on which many of us disagree,” Appropriations Committee Chairperson Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said of the HHS spending bill’s exclusion of Hyde. “But regardless of the original intent of Hyde, it has disproportionately impacted women of color, and it has ultimately led to more unintended pregnancies and later riskier, and more costly abortions.”
“We are finally doing what is right for our mothers, our families, our communities by striking this discriminatory amendment, once and for all,” she said.
Destiny Lopez, Co-President of All* Above All, an abortion justice organization, said in a statement, “Let’s get this bill across the finish line and make it clear that people working to make ends meet should not be denied access to abortion just because of how they are insured.”
Although challenges to the Hyde Amendment are growing, the movement to repeal the Helms Amendment, which restricts U.S. foreign aid from being used for abortion care internationally, has not gained as much traction.
In March, however, Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act that would effectively repeal the Helms Amendment. Her bill would allow the use of U.S. funding for abortion services abroad.
Repealing the Helms Amendment would be “a way to show solidarity with women around the world,” said Representative Schakowsky.
Sources: The Hill 7/12/21; Axios 7/12/21; Feminist Newswire 5/28/21; Twitter, 7/11/21; Washington Post 3/9/21