How Conservatives Hurt US Economy by Restricting Abortion Access
Congresswoman Barbara Lee wrote an op-ed piece concerning how the Hyde Amendment has “made the legal right to abortion essentially meaningless for poor women and women of color by stripping it out of their insurance coverage.”
Lee explained: “Forty years of Hyde has done terrible harm to women and families… However we feel about abortion, none of us, especially politicians, should be interfering with a woman’s health care decisions just because she is poor. This is discrimination, plain and simple.”
Journalist Catherine Pearson detailed the account of a woman named “Mary” who lives in North Carolina who struggled to pay for an abortion because of her low-income status.
Mary was uninsured when she became pregnant. After reluctance to help pay for the abortion by her then boyfriend who did not perceive himself as responsible for the costs, Mary was able to put $200 toward the bill.
The rest was covered by “financial aid” because of Mary’s low-income status.
Mary’s story, like so many others, is a consequence of the Hyde Amendment – a law passed in 1997 barring federal funds to be spent on abortion services except in the instance of rape, incest, and if the life of the mother is in danger.
This essential rider primarily effects Medicaid recipients, thanks to Congressman Henry Hyde who introduced this addition into through the congressional legislature at the behest of pro-life lobbyists such as the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment (NCHLA).
The Hyde Amendment has cast an undue financial burden onto poorer women which is hurting state economies. This amendment, Medicaid recipients have “two sets of financial obstacles in they need an abortion.”
With the average cost of a first-trimester abortion being $470, without insurance this becomes a difficult hurdle to clear. But the costs climb to $1,850 when those women live in states that have “imposed” restrictions on abortion such as “multiple doctor’s office visits and unnecessary waiting periods.”
There is national support for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment thanks to the efforts of EACH Woman Act that would create a pathway for health coverage that includes financial assistance for abortions.
The Hart Research Associates (HRA) polling data shows that 86% agree that personal feelings about abortion should not give government the right “to deny a woman’s health coverage because she is poor.”
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