MM Curator summary
[MM Curator Summary]: The Hyde Amendment remains in place (preventing taxpayer spending via public programs on abortion)- but it was not included in Biden’s 2023 budget proposal and it is up for re-enactment each year.
The article below has been highlighted and summarized by our research team. It is provided here for member convenience as part of our Curator service.
People protest the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade abortion decision in New York City, New York, U.S., June 24, 2022. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs
- The Hyde Amendment, which prevents the use of federal funds for abortions, took effect in 1976.
- Following the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, there have been renewed calls to abandon the Amendment.
- Biden excluded the amendment from a 2023 budget proposal, but it’s unclear if it will be added back.
Following the Supreme Court’s Friday decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, there have been renewed calls from lawmakers and activists to abandon the Hyde Amendment, a legislative provision preventing federal funds from being used on abortion services.
The Hyde Amendment, named for anti-abortion Congressman Henry Hyde who introduced the provision, was passed in 1976, just four years after the landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling that established the right to an abortion. The amendment, which prevents federal funds from services such as Medicaid to be used to provide abortions, was mired in legal challenges for its first years, leading to the Supreme Court case Harris v. McRae.
In the 1980 Harris v. McRae decision, the Supreme Court held in a 5-4 vote that states participating in Medicaid programs were not obligated to fund medically necessary abortions under the Social Security Act. In the United States, adults with a low income, children, pregnant women, and people age 65 or over are covered by Medicaid services. In 2010, about 45 percent of births in the country were covered by Medicaid.
“The Hyde Amendment is designed to deprive poor and minority women of the constitutional right to choose abortion,” Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall wrote in his dissenting opinion. “[F]or women eligible for Medicaid — poor women — denial of a Medicaid-funded abortion is equivalent to denial of legal abortion altogether.”
With the Hyde Amendment in effect, abortions financed by federal Medicaid funds dropped from about 300,000 per year to a few thousand, according to the ACLU.
The amendment has been reenacted every year since, with various changes. The 1978 version of the amendment offered new exceptions for rape survivors and incest cases, while later changes expanded the ban to prevent abortion funding from federal worker health plans, women in federal prisons, women in the military and peace corps volunteers.
Public support for federal abortion funding varies depending on the polling source and how the question is phrased — one 2014 CNN-ORC poll found just 39% of the public favors offering public funding for abortions for women who cannot afford them, while a 2021 Ipsos poll found 54% of people supported Medicaid-funded abortions.
Over the last several years, Democratic lawmakers including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rep. Ariana Pressley of Massachusetts have called for reversing Hyde Amendment funding restrictions on abortion, citing their disproportionate impact on marginalized women.
“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,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said in a 2020 statement when she and other Congresswomen filed an amendment to repeal Hyde restrictions on funding. “It is critical that we put an end to this inhumane policy now.”
Though the amendment was not passed, Democrats in Congress attempted to remove Hyde Amendment restrictions in their government funding bills last year, the Wisconsin Examiner reported, but the terms were added back into the final spending package at the insistence of Republicans.
Amid continued calls for the removal of the Hyde Amendment, President Biden similarly left such restrictions off his 2023 budget proposal, but it is unclear if they will be added back to the final bill text.
“We applaud the Biden administration for its recommitment to ending the Hyde Amendment by removing this decades-old policy, which disproportionately harms people of color working to make ends meet, from its budget,” Morgan Hopkins, the interim executive director of campaigns and strategies at All* Above All said in April when the budget was proposed, Prism reported. “It’s a significant step forward to ending a decades-old policy.”