As a brief refresher, the Hyde amendment has been around for 40 years now as a barrier to low-income women’s access to abortion. The law was installed to assert that the scientifically unfounded religious views of some are more important than the health, dignity, and livelihood of poor women, who are unable to receive federal funding for abortion. This is purportedly because abortion could potentially offend the consciences of some taxpayers, who are simultaneously expected to be A-OK with paying for wars that actually kill not fertilized eggs but incontrovertibly living human beings!
And in Wednesday’s segment of shitty things the Republican Congress is up to and will almost inevitably be able to pass with President Trump in office, the House just signed a bill to sweepingly ban federal abortion funding. Although technically, Vox notes that the House could pass budgets without Hyde, it never has since Hyde was signed into law back in 1976.
The House signing off on this ban is hardly surprising, but unfortunately, with the Affordable Care Act slated to be dismantled, this year there’s a new twist. Women in the US will receive no federal financial assistance whether they are insured through public programs like Medicaid, and now, according to the Center for American Progress, even if they purchase private health insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchanges.
Women have always found ways to circumvent awful restrictions on abortion, often at the expense of their safety and convenience, whether by traveling out of state or performing self-induced abortions. But as Diane Horvath-Cosper, an abortion provider and an advocacy fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health told Vox, sweepingly cutting off financial assistance for the procedure is a different beast from TRAP laws (laws that place expensive, medically unnecessary requirements on clinics to force them to shut down).
“Women will go to great lengths to get an abortion,” Horvath-Cosper told Vox. “But you can’t get blood from a stone. If somebody doesn’t have the money, they don’t have the money.”
Pair this with the impending defunding of Planned Parenthood, and a very clear message is being sent to poor women that their human right to choose if and when they want to be parents is history. Conservative lawmakers tend to endlessly flex their notions of wholly imagined moral superiority, but I dare a single one of them to look in the face of a terrified, pregnant woman on Medicaid after voting in favor of HR7.