Washington D.C. (September 15, 2016) New polling data released today from Hart Research Associates shows that three in four (76 percent) battleground voters agree (including 60 percent who strongly agree) with the statement, “However we feel about abortion, politicians should not be allowed to deny a woman’s health coverage for it just because she’s poor.” There is broad consensus on this point across party lines with 76 percent of independents, 66 percent of Republicans, and 89 percent of Democrats in agreement. The poll also found that a majority of voters in battleground states would support a bill requiring Medicaid to cover abortion by a margin of 53 percent to 41 percent.
This mirrors a June 2015 nationwide poll, in which voters supported such a bill by a margin of 56 percent to 40 percent. Sentiment against the Hyde Amendment is especially strong among Millennials, African Americans, and Hispanics. A growing coalition of community leaders and lawmakers from across the country is calling for an end to the Hyde Amendment and similar policies that deny abortion coverage.
To mark 40 years that women have lived under the Hyde Amendment (as of September 30th, 2016) and showcase the growing commitment to lifting this harmful restriction on abortion, All* Above All—led by young people and people of color across the country—is hosting the first-ever United for Abortion Coverage Week of Action from September 25th to October 1st, 2016.
Organizations participating in the United for Abortion Coverage Week of Action are finding creative ways to send the message that they’ve had enough of politicians interfering in personal decision-making, including:
- 130 activities hosted by 68 organizations in 38 states to show support for lifting bans on abortion coverage for low-income women;
- activities such as concerts, yarn “stormings,” comedy shows, bike rides, art installations, and film screenings;
- a multi-city ad campaign amplifying the voices of Catholics across the country; and
- celebration of local victories, like last week’s Ithaca Common Council (Ithaca, NY) unanimous passage of a resolution calling on Congress to pass the EACH Woman Act.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee, lead sponsor of the EACH Woman Act – groundbreaking legislation to lift the Hyde Amendment, said: “Forty years of the Hyde Amendment is forty years too long. I was a staffer in the House of Representatives when this shameful and discriminatory policy was first passed. This is why I introduced the EACH Woman Act to finally make Hyde history. I’m proud that this legislation now has more than 120 co-sponsors.” Lee continued, “However we feel about abortion, none of us, especially elected officials, should be interfering with a woman’s healthcare decision just because she is poor.”
“We have a bold vision—that each of us to should be able to make decisions about pregnancy and parenting that are best for our families without political interference – and voters agree,” said Destiny Lopez, co-chair of All* Above All. “Across the country, people are FIRED up and taking bold and creative action. We’re ready to bring the shameful era of the Hyde Amendment to an end.”
“For four decades the awful burden of the Hyde Amendment has fallen hardest on people of color, low-income families, and youth,” said Yamani Hernandez, Executive Director, National Network of Abortion Funds. “Every day on the hotlines our funds hear from over 100,000 people who have to make impossible decisions, like choosing between paying for utilities or for their abortion care. Every day we must turn people away. And every time that happens our resolve is strengthened to end the bans on abortion coverage and other restrictions that make our work necessary in the first place.”
“In the last four years, anti-choice politicians have passed a record-breaking number of restrictions on abortion with the sole intent of pushing it out of reach. Too often women’s basic health care is traded away for politics and compromise. Young people are demanding better, organizing on campus and in communities to put an end to needless political interference in our decision-making,” said Kierra Johnson, Executive Director, Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (URGE).
“For decades, Black women have been among those most harmed by the Hyde Amendment, and today we are leaders in the fight to overturn this insidious ban on abortion coverage. Our vision is bold, our commitment is unwavering, and we will not stop fighting until every Black woman and girl has the care she needs, with dignity and without stigma, shame, or unnecessary obstacles,” said Marcela Howell, Founder and Executive Director, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda.
“Latinas already face too many barriers to getting the health care we need, and we’re sick of politicians who play games with our health,” said Jessica González-Rojas, Executive Director, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. “Forty years of Hyde is forty years too long – and if politicians think we’re going to let this cruel policy continue, they have another thing coming. Latinas are organized, mobilized, and ready to do what it takes to build a future without Hyde.”
Since the passage of the Hyde amendment in 1976, Congress has withheld coverage for abortion services from women insured through the Medicaid program:
- Thirty-five states and Washington, D.C. deny a woman’s coverage for abortion just because she is poor.
- This restriction has a widespread impact for women across the country as approximately 1 in 6 women of reproductive age (15 to 44) are enrolled in Medicaid.
- Over the years, the Hyde Amendment has been extended to deny coverage to federal employees and their dependents, military service members, Native Americans, Peace Corps volunteers, immigrants, and residents of Washington, D.C.
- As a result of the Hyde Amendment and similar restrictions, nearly 29 million women of reproductive age do not have insurance coverage for abortion.
Research has demonstrated the impact of the Hyde Amendment on women and families:
- Restricting Medicaid coverage of abortion forces one in four poor women seeking abortion to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.
- A woman who wants to get an abortion but is denied is more likely to fall into poverty than one who can get an abortion.