Reps. Pressley, Lee, Schakowsky and Ocasio-Cortez Introduce Amendment to Strip Discriminatory Hyde Amendment from Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill

July 23, 2020
Press Release
Hyde Amendment Has Perpetuated Inequality & Disproportionately Harmed Low-Income People & People of Color for Decades

Amendment Text (PDF) | Pressley Medium Post

 

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus’s Abortion Rights and Access Task Force, Barbara Lee (CA-13), Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus, Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus’s Providers and Clinics Taskforce and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) filed an amendment to finally repeal the Hyde Amendment, language that prohibits federal Medicaid funds from being used to cover abortion care, from the FY2021 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill.

First introduced 43 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 and people of color, 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 the abortion coverage bans like the Hyde Amendment have a devastating economic impact.

“The Hyde Amendment is a racist, discriminatory policy that has perpetuated inequity and injustice in our nation for far too long,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “Since its introduction more than four decades ago, Hyde has punished low income people and blocked countless individuals from exercising their constitutional right to comprehensive reproductive health care—including abortion care. Abortion care is critical health care, period. Our nation is in the midst of connected crises, an unprecedented public health crisis exacerbated by systemic racism and the plague of police brutality disproportionately robbing us of Black and brown lives, and we must actively dismantle all racist and discriminatory policies—including those that deny us the ability to make our own healthcare decisions. As a firm believer in reproductive justice and as Chair of the Abortion Rights and Access Task Force, I’m committed to doing everything in my power to finally repeal the Hyde Amendment and affirm reproductive justice for all.”

“For years I’ve been fighting to end the harmful and discriminatory Hyde amendment,” said Congresswoman Lee. “In 2015 I introduced the EACH Woman Act with my colleagues, including Congresswoman Schakowsky, to do exactly that, and I will keep working with them move this fight forward until we repeal it once and for all. Reproductive care is a human right, regardless of race or socioeconomic status.”

“In 2015, my friend Barbara Lee and I introduced the EACH Woman Act to allow every woman to make her own reproductive health care decisions regardless of her income, her race, where she works, or how she gets her insurance. In 2019, the first-ever Pro-Choice Majority was sworn into the United States House of Representatives,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky. “We are honoring that history today by introducing an amendment to finally end the Hyde Amendment and affirming that comprehensive reproductive health care is a human right.”

“The Hyde Amendment has blocked federal funding for abortion services since 1976,” said Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez. “Since then, Congress has voted to include the Hyde Amendment in our appropriations packages every year- including this year in a Democrat controlled House. The Hyde Amendment is a back-end attempt to outlaw abortion that disproportionately denies the right of choice to low-income women and women of color. It is critical that we put an end to this inhumane policy now.”

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