Rep. Pressley Continues Fight to End Discriminatory Hyde Amendment

December 8, 2020
Press Release
“It is clear that the legal right to an abortion has never been enough and it is incumbent upon us to ensure that our policies and our budgets affirm the dignity and worth of all people, no exceptions.”

Text of Letter (PDF)

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus’s Abortion Rights and Access Task Force, submitted a letter for the Congressional Record to Reps. Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) and Tom Cole (OK-04), Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, expressing her unequivocal support for eliminating the Hyde Amendment and all other harmful abortion coverage bans.

The Congresswoman’s letter comes as the Committee holds a historic hearing on the harm caused by the Hyde Amendment and the need to repeal the 44 year old policy.

“As our nation continues to face a moment of reckoning and transformation, it is absolutely critical that we remain unapologetic in our efforts to dismantle systems of oppression and stand against racist and discriminatory policies that push comprehensive health care—including abortion care—out of reach for our nation’s most vulnerable,” the Congresswoman wrote. “It is clear that the legal right to an abortion has never been enough and it is incumbent upon us to ensure that our policies and our budgets affirm the dignity and worth of all people, no exceptions.”

In her letter, Congresswoman Pressley commended Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) for their leadership on these issues and for holding today’s hearing and emphasized the need to pass clean appropriation bills to ensure that comprehensive reproductive health care is available to all.

“Congress has a responsibility to proactively legislate racial and reproductive justice and meaningfully advance policies that affirm that abortion care is health care and that health care is a fundamental human right,” the Congresswoman continued.

First introduced 44 years ago by anti-choice, Republican lawmaker Rep. Henry Hyde in 1976, the Hyde Amendment has been included in federal funding bills every year since. This abortion coverage ban disproportionately harms low-income people, Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, transgender and gender nonconforming people, and targets those who receive Medicaid coverage. Currently, an estimated 30 percent of Black women and 24 percent of Latina women of reproductive age are covered by Medicaid — in comparison to just 14 percent of white women. Additionally, research has found that abortion coverage bans like the Hyde Amendment perpetuate cycles of poverty and economic inequality.

As Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus’s Abortion Rights and Access Task Force, Congresswoman Pressley has fought tirelessly to protect comprehensive reproductive health care for all, including abortion care.

Over the course of her first term serving in Congress, Congresswoman Pressley has filed amendments every year to repeal Hyde from annual Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bills and in July published a Medium post on the importance of doing so.

In May, she led more than 155 Members of Congress in calling on House Democratic leadership to ensure that any future COVID-19 relief packages rejected Republican efforts to use the public health crisis to diminish abortion access. Last May, she led more than 100 colleagues in introducing H.Con.Res.40, a resolution reaffirming the House of Representative’s support for Roe v. Wade. Last June, Rep. Pressley introduced H.R. 3296, the Affordability is Access Act, to make oral contraception available without a prescription.

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