The myth of the "rape exception," continued
Six-term Representative Todd Akin (R-MO) is in hot water for his recent comments regarding "legitimate rape," setting off a flurry of public arguments about not only the definition of rape but the circumstances under which a woman can get an abortion using her Medicaid insurance coverage.
When the Hyde Amendment passed in 1976, banning federal Medicaid coverage for abortion, there were no exceptions: not for rape, not for incest, and not for the life of the woman. As Justice Thurgood Marshall noted when the Supreme Court later upheld the amendment, it was very simply "designed to deprive poor and minority women of the constitutional right to choose abortion." An exception to permit funding in the case of rape was added to the amendment in 1977, removed in 1981, and reinstated in 1993.
However, in all that time, Medicaid funds have only rarely been used to cover abortions. As Stephanie Poggi, Executive Director of the National Network of Abortion Funds stressed in a recent Washington Post interview, "It’s really a myth that there is coverage that is still provided.”
In fact, nothing has changed in the years since we published "The Myth of the Rape Exception: Abortion Funding for Poor Women," in 2005:
So, what happens today when a woman or girl who has been sexually assaulted seeks Medicaid funding for abortion in one of the many states that pay only in the case of rape/incest or life endangerment? The reality is that she is almost always denied coverage for the abortion.
The reality is that a woman who lacks the means to pay up front for an abortion is left to make difficult, sometimes impossible, sacrifices in order to get the care that she needs -- regardless of her circumstances.
And we help as many as we can. In fact, last year, grassroots abortion funds helped 26,920 women. But as proud as we are of our work, we know that we can never fill the gap left by the Hyde Amendment. With your help, we will continue to fight against abortion restrictions so that every woman can have the ability to make her own decision about having a child, no matter what her income is and no matter what her circumstances.
Join us. Sign our petition to repeal the discriminatory Hyde Amendment.
Make a statement: declare that all women's lives matter.
Now would be a good time to check in with (and follow) @OK4RJ.
6 hours 46 min ago
Since 2009, @FondoMaria has helped over 1700 women get safe abortions in Mexico: http://t.co/yd7UAC8JmO
11 hours 56 min ago
"Lesbians & Feminists for the right to information, how may I help you?" - Abortion info line in Chile http://t.co/nO4y1wjvBF
12 hours 25 min ago