The Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act was introduced in Congress 14 months ago in an effort to make insurance coverage for abortion available to all women, regardless of income, type of insurance or zip code. Today it has over 120 co-sponsors and the Speaker refuses to bring it to the floor for a vote.
Currently, the over 28 million women who receive health insurance through the federal government are denied coverage for an abortion procedure through the 1976 Hyde Amendment. Hyde essentially creates two separate categories of American women: those who can afford to access their constitutional rights and those who cannot. Those who cannot include Native Americans, veterans, federal prisoners, employees of the federal government, and the 1 in 6 American women of reproductive age who are enrolled in Medicaid.
The EACH Woman Act would restore abortion insurance coverage to all of these women, as well as prohibit federal, state and local governments from passing laws that restrict private health insurance companies from offering abortion care, as has been done in 25 states.
A ban on federal funds for abortion coverage forces women to pay out of pocket costs averaging over $350, a substantial burden that forces one in four poor women seeking an abortion to carry their pregnancy to term. Studies show that women who seek abortion but are denied are more likely to slip into poverty than women who are able to get an abortion.
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. The exact message of the sponsor of Hyde, Henry Hyde, in 1977 was, “I certainly would like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion, a rich woman, a middle-class woman, or a poor woman. Unfortunately, the only vehicle available is the…Medicaid bill.”