Most Women Who Qualify For “Taxpayer Funded” Abortions Can’t Get Them


The Hyde Amendment, a federal rule that forbids taxpayer funds to be used for abortions except in specific cases, has recently turned 35 years old. Under the guise of “protecting” taxpayers who don’t believe women should have the right to decide when they are ready to be mothers, the Hyde rule has instead simply made the process of obtaining an abortion more onerous, more expensive and in some cases totally impossible for many poor women, while having nearly no effect on any other women in the country.

Conservatives call that a victory.

Thanks to Hyde, women who are on Medicaid cannot have their procedures paid for as they would any other health procedure, even though many of these women seeking abortion are doing so because they simply cannot afford to care for another child.  Most are already mothers, many are jobless and all are struggling.  Unless they live in a state that has locally overruled the ban on abortions being covered by Medicaid, they are stuck trying to finance the entire procedure themselves, turning to a charity abortion fund to assist in the expenses, or carrying to term and caring for another child that strains what little finances they have.  At a time when the Republican Party is attempting to balance the budget on decreased funding to programs like WIC, food stamps, child care expenses and welfare, the Hyde amendment literally sends these women and their families spiraling further into poverty.

Still, some abortion procedures are allowed under the rules.  Women who have been raped, or women who have their health threatened by a pregnancy can terminate and have Medicaid cover their costs.  It’s a fairly narrow exception, and it is one the House GOP tried to make even narrower by redefining rape as only “forcible rape” earlier this session, but it is one loophole that does get used.

But how often?  According to a new report only 37 percent of women who obtain abortions that would legally be covered under the Hyde rule actually get reimbursed for their procedural cost. “Ibis’ research has shown that in states where abortion coverage is limited to the Hyde Amendment exceptions, it is extremely challenging for providers to get reimbursed,” said Kelly Blanchard, principal investigator of the study and president of Ibis.

Nearly two thirds of the women in poverty who are getting medically necessary abortions or abortions because they were impregnated under sexual assault are forced to pay for an abortion out of pocket, or beg the provider or a charity for funding.  Women whose lives may depend on ending a pregnancy, or who are victims of a horrible crime, are being forced to then go into debt or ask for help because the government wants a set of citizens to feel like their “hands are clean” when it comes to abortion.

Amanda Marcotte states, “The whole idea behind the “rape, incest, or medical emergency” exception is that the law can meaningfully divide women into virgin and whore categories, and allow the former to have the abortions they’ve earned by being good girls in pitiable situations (including women who fully intended to have their babies like good, Christian women, but who face health problems that prevent them from doing so) while making sure the filthy sluts who have sex for pleasure get their due punishment.”  But women aren’t categories to be analyzed.  Women have complex lives and situations, and for poor women the government’s need to control them is endangering them and their families.

The Hyde Amendment has to be renewed yearly.  The House GOP is working on a bill to make it permanent.  For the sake of all women, we simply cannot let that happen.

Click here for more coverage of the war on women.



Linda H.
Linda h.4 years ago

I support the right for any woman who needs an abortion for any reason to get one any where in this country. I support the right of poor women who qualify for medical help to get an abortion for any reason any where in this country. I support the right of all men and all women to use birth control in this country and if they need help because they are poor then it should be easy for them to get this help with out personal judgments or religious interference. It makes no sense to punish the poor with forced birth. I do not care if they enjoy sex. It is human nature. I do care that the children born into these families have to suffer because of a small group of hateful backwards people who resent the smallest pleasure a poor person could have and have not the slightest care for those born into poverty.It is more responsible for a woman to not have a child they know they cannot care for or love. I am so tired of this subject. We don't need any more people born into poverty in this country. The republicans have made so many of us poor already. When will they stop making our lives worse with each passing day? Never. I practiced birth control and when it was necessary I had abortions. I raised one child well. I am no longer poor and he is very well off and having his first child. I pay taxes and I want my money to go to help others as I was helped and I don't want any religion that also doesn't believe in using condoms to make federal health policy. Ever.

Patrick F.
Patrick f.4 years ago

Most right wingnuts are against abortion because it reduces the amount of children born into ignorance who will later vote Republican and they ARE desperate for votes.....

Lika S.
Lika S.4 years ago

People who don't believe in freedom of choice is actually anti-choice AND anti-life. If they were truly pro-life, they would ensure that those who are in need would be able to access the procedure. Anyone who automatically says the mother should die to give birth gave a grown woman a death sentence. Never mind if she was raped or has a serious health condition, and who cares about her other living children. The so called prolifers only care about "the baby" until they're born.

Faith Purdy
Faith Purdy4 years ago

complete idiocy, this is why religion is such BS!

Tricia Hamilton
Tricia Hamilton4 years ago

Shame on all of you stupid people for hurting women and their choices. GET A LIFE-RETARDS!!!

Patrick F.
Patrick f.4 years ago

Until you can stop the wave of unfit mothers(they are very visible), I would definitely support abortions, it is the lesser of 2 evils.

Diane O.
Diane O.4 years ago

JimG, your personal comments have been noted and fortunately we don't know each other. Look at our economy and tell me again the money doesn't matter. It matters because we have to look to the rich to pay for most everything.

Personal responsibility, whether you like it or not, defines who we are. I will always state that it matters not to me what women elect to do to their own bodies but don't look to someone else to pay for it.

We are humans not animals and as humans we should exercise good judgement so that we do not bring children into the world to irresponsible people. It always comes back to personal choices and I know most of you liberals have issues with taking responsibility for one's actions. From what I've read your pat answer is "let someone else pay for it."

If women behaved responsibily we wouldn't be having this conversation. So for me, I like to get to the root of the problem and not hang out and settle in "damage control." The problem is easily fixed by making the right choices in the beginning.

Good choices define who we are.

Sorry we don't agree.

Lynn C.
Lynn C.4 years ago

Thank you for the article.

Jim Gayden
Jim Gayden4 years ago

I always try to read what Dian O. has to say. She makes so many comments. I honestly feel that she believes that she is trying to do the right thing. However, she seems to be under the illusion that she understands the human condition better than anybody else. Sometimes she approaches seeming to be humane. But every time she just misses the mark. It is really sad, because she seems to be reasonably intelligent. However, she is just narrow minded. She cannot see the big picture. Her major focus is all about money, and that is where her narrowmindedness exists. She cannot seem to understand that if she freed her mind from her money focus that she would become much more enlightened, and openminded. And once this occurred, then she also might understand what it means to be compassionate, caring, and understanding, or humane. Just let go of your ego, pride, contempt, and control issues. You never know, you might have hope if you do!

Jim Gayden
Jim Gayden4 years ago

Wow Rebecca B. that is one very graphic comment. And if all you stated was true, then maybe you should work as a guidance counselor. All you have to do is recite the comment you made here, and you can horrify all women who are considering an abortion into going through with having their baby. Or maybe they might think that the child could very possibly go through a lifetime of torture if they do follow through with having the child.