House of Representatives hears bill that would codify the Hyde Amendment

"Hyde Amendment is designed to deprive poor & minority women of the constitutional right to choose abortion." Justice Thurgood Marshall

Oh House of Representatives, when are you ever up to any good? This morning, there was a hearing for HR7, a bill that would prohibit federal insurance coverage of abortion.

Now you may know, as it stands today, federal funds are already not allowed to be used to pay for abortion services. So what’s the difference? Turns out it’s a pretty big one. You see, the Hyde amendment – which restricts the use of federal funds for abortion services – is actually a part of the budget, and every year Congress renews it during the appropriations process. What HR7 seeks to do is to codify Hyde into law, to make those restrictions permanent and even harsher than they are today.

As we’ve written about here many times before, Hyde means that, in states that don’t use their own funds to cover abortion services (that is, most of them), the primary form of insurance covering low-income people (Medicaid) does not cover abortion. And one thing low-income folks don’t have a ton of: hundreds of dollars to spend on a medical procedure they didn’t plan to have in advance. In short, the effect these restrictions have is to make people – disproportionately women of color, in fact – carry unwanted pregnancies to term, not get the health care they need, or have to make huge and scary sacrifices. It means, basically, that folks are being denied coverage just because they’re poor. This is the last thing we want to codify into the law.

If you’re interested in knowing what went down at the hearing, check out the #StopHR7 hashtag, where folks live-tweeted it and are still tweeting out resources and information. And please, tell Congress to stop placing barriers to health care and lift the restrictions on abortion coverage!

1bfea3e7449eff65a94e2e55a8b7acda-bpfullVerónica is sick of the House’s shenanigans.

New York, NY

Verónica Bayetti Flores has spent the last years of her life living and breathing reproductive justice. She has led national policy and movement building work on the intersections of immigrants' rights, health care access, young parenthood, and LGBTQ liberation, and has worked to increase access to contraception and abortion, fought for paid sick leave, and demanded access to safe public space for queer youth of color. In 2008 Verónica obtained her Master’s degree in the Sexuality and Health program at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She loves cooking, making art, listening to music, and thinking about the ways art forms traditionally seen as feminine are valued and devalued. In addition to writing for Feministing, she is currently spending most of her time doing policy work to reduce the harms of LGBTQ youth of color's interactions with the police and making sure abortion care is accessible to all regardless of their income.

Verónica is a queer immigrant writer, activist, and rabble-rouser.

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