Still working to secure the promise of legal abortion for all women on the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade

January 20th, 2012

The following post by Megan Peterson and Rachel Roth of the National Network of Abortion Funds appeared in Forbes on January 20, 2012:

Abortion has been legal in the United States for almost 40 years, but public policies put abortion out of reach for too many poor and low-income women.

For 35 of the years that abortion has been legal, low-income women have had to struggle to obtain abortion care because Congress denies funding for this common medical procedure. Every year since 1976, Congress has passed the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortion under Medicaid. Because states do not have to pay for medical care that the federal government does not share the costs of, only 15 states reliably cover abortion for women enrolled in Medicaid.

“The Hyde Amendment [is] designed to deprive poor and minority women of the constitutional right to choose abortion,” Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall argued in his 1980 dissent from the 5-4 decision upholding the Hyde Amendment. “[F]or women eligible for Medicaid – poor women – denial of a Medicaid-funded abortion is equivalent to denial of legal abortion altogether. By definition, these women do not have the money to pay for an abortion themselves.”

As we observe the 39th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion, a growing number of restrictions compound the lack of Medicaid funding to make abortion less accessible than ever.

Continue reading at Forbes...

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