The Hyde Amendment, introduced in 1976, is a pro-life piece of legislation that bans abortion coverage under Medicaid. While it is heralded by right to lifers as an important shield against federal dollars going toward abortions, others decry it as a threat to low income women seeking the procedure.
Angry members of Congress who view the Hyde Amendment as oppressive to reproductive choice assembled in the nation’s capital today to introduce the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Woman Act. Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), a cosponsor along with Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), explained why she was storming the Capitol.
“The EACH Woman Act is a bold and groundbreaking step forward,” Rep. Lee said. “This legislation would ensure that every woman can access ALL of her healthcare options, regardless of how much money she earns or where she lives,” said Rep. Lee.
In all, 64 cosponsors signed on to the EACH act. More details on just what its passage would mean:
Specifically, the bill ensures that every woman who receives her health care or insurance through the federal government will be covered for all pregnancy related services, including abortion. In addition, it prohibits political interference with decisions by private health insurance companies to offer coverage for abortion care. Restricting Medicaid coverage of abortion forces one in four poor women seeking abortion to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.
On Twitter, it appeared that one of the arguments in favor of the EACH act was a rather hypocritical one.
Of course, our most fundamental human right is the right to live. But I digress…
Each time a cosponsor stepped up to the podium at today's rally, they had something critical to say about their Republican colleagues. Rep. Chris Van Holland (D-MD), for instance, was fed up with members of Congress who seemed determined to block abortion funding.
“We will no longer stand for a law that discriminates against poor women…Our Republican colleagues are obsessive about this issue.”
Van Holland was referring in part to Republicans including the Hyde Amendment in the Justice for Victims of Human Trafficking Act earlier this year. Because of the pro-life provisions, Democrats rejected the bill.
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) was similarly frustrated by pro-life laws that are designed to curtail abortion access.
“When abortion is restricted, it does not go away,” she said. “It becomes unsafe. Come on United States, join Oregon and let low income women make their own reproductive decisions.”
The Democrats can claim that Republicans are ‘obsessing’ over abortion restrictions, but not without being guilty of their own fixation on expanding abortion rights. Stymieing an anti-trafficking bill to protect abortion funding was shameful, to say the least – and it proved their priorities are unnervingly out of whack.
When these Democrats are done shouting about the Republicans’ war on women – specifically poor women – perhaps they can consider that their time would be better spent informing women with unplanned pregnancies that abortion isn’t their only option. There are over 2,000 crisis pregnancy centers in the country that are more than willing to help mothers see their pregnancies through by providing essential resources and support. Does that not sound more comforting than throwing money at them and ushering them to an abortion clinic?
As for unborn babies, they were not even given a passing thought on the hill today. We all have the right to our basic freedoms. EACH and every one of us.