MM Curator summary
Dems continue to push for Medicaid to pay for abortions.
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The fight over abortion restrictions will likely be a major flashpoint in appropriations debates and on the campaign trail
Demonstrators rally outside the Supreme Court in June 2016. The fight over abortion restrictions will likely be a major flashpoint in upcoming appropriations debates and on the campaign trail. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
The partisan fight over whether the federal government will fund abortion coverage for Medicaid beneficiaries threatens to stall action on major appropriations bills, but the on-the-ground impact would be less dramatic than the debate suggests.
Democrats are prioritizing the removal of an annual appropriations rider known as the Hyde amendment, which bans federal funding of abortion except in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the woman. The policy, which prevents programs like Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program from using federal money to cover abortion outside of those three situations, has been in every spending law since 1976.
Additional legislative action outside of the fiscal 2022 Labor-HHS-Education funding bill would be needed to broaden abortion coverage for women who receive care through departments such as Defense or Veterans Affairs.
It would be challenging to remove a long-standing abortion policy that every lawmaker who voted for Labor-HHS-Education funding in previous years allowed to continue.
Even if changes to Hyde become law, the effects would be muted, based on state abortion policies, said Laurie Sobel, the Kaiser Family Foundation associate director for women’s health policy.