36 years of the Hyde Amendment: a call to action

September 30th, 2012

Categories: abortion restrictions, economic justice, health care reform, Hyde Amendment, Medicaid, TakeAction, unfair laws

On September 30, 1976, the House of Representatives passed the Hyde Amendment, banning federal Medicaid funding of abortion. And every year since, the Hyde Amendment has been included in the federal budget. For 36 years, this ban has burdened the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. For 36 years, the Hyde Amendment has singled out abortion coverage, targeting low-income women, young women, women serving in the military, Native American women, rural women, and women of color.

From Rosie Jimenez, the first known victim of the Hyde Amendment, to Jennie MacDonald, who was prosecuted in Idaho earlier this year for resorting to a self-induced abortion when she could not afford to travel across state lines, to the tens of thousands of women we help each year and the thousands who never get the help that they deserve, the legacy of the Hyde Amendment is one of brutal economic and racial oppression.

We see the effects of the Hyde Amendment every day. Every single day. Last year the abortion funds in our Network received more than 111,600 requests for help. And while we know that abortion funds can never fill the gap, we are proud of the accomplishments of grassroots activists working together to fulfill those requests: whether raising nearly $500,000 in the 3rd Annual National Bowl-a-Thon for Abortion Access or starting new abortion funds in areas where they're needed the most, abortion fund supporters and volunteers make a real difference!

We understand that it's going to take more than money. That's why we are working with a broad coalition of reproductive justice, reproductive rights, and reproductive health organizations to not only fight dangerous policies but to challenge the culture of stigma. We envision a world in which no woman is forced to call an abortion fund to cover her health care.

Will you speak up on behalf of the women the Hyde Amendment hurts? Here's how you can take action:

If you have had an abortion, consider sharing your story here. Was money a concern? Did you call an abortion fund for help?

And finally, please give to the National Network of Abortion Funds or your local abortion fund and help us continue our work with and for women who can't afford the abortions they need.

See also: The Hyde Amendment at 35: lessons for activists, by National Network of Abortion Funds founding president Marlene Gerber Fried.