Policy Facts: Insurance Coverage of Abortion Care

Abortion is a safe and effective procedure that terminates a pregnancy. Abortion is recognized worldwide as a vital part of women’s health care, women’s ability to plan their families, and women’s economic empowerment.

Despite being vital to health and wellbeing, insurance coverage for abortion care in the United States varies based on a woman’s income, where she lives, and her health insurance.

Anti-choice politicians in 25 states have enacted restrictions that create barriers to abortion coverage under private insurance plans; 10 more states have laws that outright bar abortion coverage in all private insurance plans written in the state. Twenty-one states restrict abortion coverage in insurance plans that are available for public employees like public school teachers and other state employees.

On the federal level, the Hyde Amendment creates an enormous barrier to accessing abortion care. Since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has prohibited the use of Federal funds to pay for abortion care, unless the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, or endangers the woman’s life. It applies to women who are covered under Federal plans, including Federal employees; Peace Corps volunteers; Native American women; women in Federal prison and detention centers; and low-income women living in the District of Columbia.

The Amendment disproportionately affects the most vulnerable women — low-income women, women of color, immigrant women, and young women. Since its inception, the National Women’s Health Network (NWHN) has advocated for the removal of the Hyde Amendment. The Network’s very first call to action asked its members to speak out against Hyde’s harmful effects. Since our founding, we have fought to protect the right of every woman to have access to safe, affordable abortion care. We are dedicated to expanding and protecting coverage for abortion services in public and private health insurance markets.

We strongly support the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Woman Act, first introduced in July 2015. The EACH Woman Act would end the discriminatory and harmful Hyde Amendment, and restore comprehensive abortion care to women covered under Federal plans.

We are also a proud a partner in the All* Above All Campaign, building support to lift restrictions that deny a woman the abortion coverage she needs. As an organization and as part of All* Above All, the NWHN will work to implement the EACH Woman Act.

We are committed to ensuring that women have access to accurate, balanced health information and services. Stay informed about this issue by signing up for our e-alerts, and by connecting with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Updated August 2015