Saturday, July 11, 2009

Low-Income Women Forced to Carry Pregnancies to Term

In a recent report written by the Guttmacher Institute and Ibis Reproductive Health, approximately 1 in 4 women who are denied Medicaid funding for an abortion are forced to continue their pregnancies. The report also mentions that Medicaid funding restrictions can postpone abortions by 2-3 weeks, as women face challenges in finding money to cover the cost of an abortion.

This is a direct consequence of the unjust Hyde Amendment, which allocates Medicaid funds for abortions only in cases of rape, incest, or when the woman’s life is in danger. While the Hyde Amendment only restricts federal funds, 32 states impose similar restrictions on state funds. Seventeen states including Maryland cover all or most medically necessary abortions and one state, South Dakota, openly defies the Hyde Amendment, refusing to cover abortions in cases of rape or incest.

Low income women are already at the greatest risk of unintended pregnancy because of lack of access to reproductive health care. Every woman, regardless of her economic circumstances, deserves the right to decide when and whether to have a child. The Hyde Amendment is a cruel policy and for over 30 years has been a barrier to care. It is time for that era to come to an end.

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