Anniversaries are usually quite a happy occasion, often celebrated with parties or gift giving or gatherings with friends. However, the anniversary occurring today on September 30th is not one to be celebrated but, rather, an anniversary in which we are reminded that we still have a long way to go in the fight for reproductive justice.
September 30th is the anniversary of none other than the infamous Hyde Amendment, a piece of legislation that has acted as a barrier to abortion access for 39 years. Simply put, the Hyde Amendment bans the use of federal funding to pay for abortion unless the pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, or if the abortion is needed to save the life of the mother. The Hyde Amendment has time and time again been attached to annual appropriations bills and upheld throughout the years. Though it has been altered since its initial authoring, including expanding its harmful reach to unrelated bills, the amendment that exists today is still very similar to the original from 1976.
What makes the Hyde Amendment so harmful is that it disproportionally affects low-income women, women of color, young women, and immigrant women – all of whom may need the use of federal funds for abortion care. The Hyde Amendment turns what should be an essential health service into a privilege based on income and type of insurance. The Hyde Amendment also affects women in the military, Peace Corps volunteers, federal employees and their dependents, and all other women who receive their health insurance through Medicaid. While the Hyde Amendment clearly has a negative effect on a large percentage of women in the United States, it continues to be as strong as ever.
That said many efforts exist to help bring down the Hyde Amendment once and for all, one of which is the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Woman Act. The EACH Woman Act is a bill that currently has more than 100 congressional co-sponsors since its introduction in July 2015. When enacted, the EACH Woman Act would end Hyde and grant comprehensive abortion care to all women, even those covered under federal insurance plans. Another effort dedicated to ending Hyde is the All* Above All campaign, which advocates to lift restrictions on abortion coverage and make abortion accessible to all who need it. It is thanks to efforts such as these as well as the efforts of many other organizations and movements that we’ve been able to make strides towards ending Hyde and other harmful abortion barriers.
So what can you do to help? You can learn more about All* Above All and the EACH Woman Act. Then, spread the word! On the 30th, you can even join us on Twitter with the hashtags #4EachofUS and #BeBoldEndHyde.
Let’s hope that in the years to come, we truly have something to celebrate!