barbara lee

Now more than ever, let’s be bold and end the Hyde amendment

Yesterday, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) reintroduced the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act. This bill aims to overturn the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal dollars from being used for abortions, with few exceptions.

The EACH Woman Act is an explicit pro-abortion piece of legislation that would significantly increase abortion access for people regardless of their income or their health insurance provider. It would require ALL federal government healthcare programs to fund abortions, including Medicaid, Medicare, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, Indian Health Services, and TRICARE, the federal health care program for military families. The bill would also protect private health insurance companies from political interference in regards to their decisions around abortion coverage.

Over 100 Congressional Democrats support the EACH Woman Act as co-sponsors, along with 82 reproductive health, rights, and justice advocacy organizations. Organizational support has been led by All* Above All, a reproductive justice campaign fighting barriers to abortion access. After the press call on Tuesday, All* Above All hosted a tweetstorm using their rallying cry, #BeBoldEndHyde, as the hashtag so that participants could share their support. 

The reintroduction of the EACH Woman Act is a critical step taken by Congressional Democrats as we move into a hostile moment for reproductive autonomy. Last week House Republicans introduced the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017 (HR 7) and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (S 184), bills that would make the Hyde Amendment permanent and would limit abortion coverage on private policies. These bills came a week or so after the introduction of the first federal “heartbeat bill” in the House of Representatives. Under the current reality of Republican majority rule, some folks may wonder whether it is wise to reintroduce a pro-abortion bill, particularly one that didn’t make it out of committee in 2015.

But I believe it’s more important now than ever to take “bold” actions for justice. If we have learned nothing else during this onslaught of oppressive nominations and executive orders, we have to know that we must remain vigilant and committed to our radical visions of liberation. The Trump administration has no interest in compromising or reforming their violent policies. So instead of settling for the Hyde Amendment instead of more permanent bills to block abortion access, we should fight back and be bold to push for the end of this classist, racist, and sexist policy!

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Quita Tinsley is a fat, Black, queer femme that writes, organizes, and overall is working to build sustainable change in the South. She holds a B.A. in Journalism with a minor in Sociology from Georgia State University, and is currently pursuing an M.A. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from her alma mater. She is a member on the board of directors of Access Reproductive Care – Southeast, and is a former content creator for the The Body Is Not An Apology. As a femme, feminist, and queer Black woman, it is through her lived experiences and complex identities that Quita has come to believe in the power of storytelling and the validation of lived experiences.

Quita Tinsley is a fat, Black, queer femme that writes, organizes, and overall is working to build sustainable change in the South.

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