Freethought NOW!

Let’s support the EACH Act

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Nobody should be denied abortion care because they cannot afford it but millions of people are not able to pay for their abortion care due to a nearly 50-year-old draconian amendment. It’s time to repeal it permanently.

The Hyde Amendment was first introduced in Congress by Rep. Henry J. Hyde in 1976. A staunch Catholic, Hyde wanted to make abortion as inaccessible as possible. In fact, he said: “I certainly would like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion — a rich woman, a middle-class woman, or a poor woman. Unfortunately, the only vehicle available is the … Medicaid bill.” And, thus, the Hyde Amendment came into existence.

The Hyde Amendment forbids people on federal health plans from receiving subsidized abortion care. As such, low-income women on Medicaid, federal employees, women in federal prisons, Peace Corps volunteers, Native American women on the Indian Health Service program, and those on the Children’s Health Insurance Program must pay for their abortion care out-of-pocket. Approximately one-in-five women in the United States use Medicaid. That means that over 16.75 million women of reproductive age are ineligible for affordable abortion care. Currently, 34 states and the District of Columbia do not cover abortion within their Medicaid plans (with rare exceptions).

Abortion costs can range from $600 to over $2,000, without even taking into account expenses for such things as gas, child care and hotel, and missed wages from taking time off of work. Such costs exacerbate existing inequalities for people who are already struggling to make ends meet.

Denying people an abortion is linked to economic hardship and housing insecurity. For example, women who wanted an abortion but could not obtain one experienced an increase in household poverty for at least four years later. Furthermore, people who are denied a wanted abortion are more likely to be forced to stay in abusive partnerships, raise children in poverty and experience serious health complications.

Yet, despite these harmful outcomes, the Hyde Amendment has been reauthorized by every Congress since its inception. And the Catholic Church continues to praise and call for support for it. Unsurprisingly, the Catholic Church says that instead of supporting people seeking abortion care, funding should go toward crisis pregnancy centers: religiously affiliated fake clinics that lie to women seeking abortion care.

That’s why I am proud to support the EACH Act. The Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Act would reverse the Hyde Amendment and related abortion coverage restrictions. When it was first introduced in 2021, FFRF joined All* Above All, a women of color coalition, and 150 other groups to support this bill.

Now that it has been reintroduced in the U.S. House, I am asking you to contact your representative and tell that it is time to make abortion affordable for everyone. Abortion is health care and nobody should be denied an abortion because they cannot afford it. All abortion restrictions are rooted in religious ideology, not evidence-based medicine. You can find your representative here.

In the meantime, consider donating to an abortion fund. Abortion funds help cover the cost of abortion for people who cannot afford it. Find your nearest abortion fund here.

The Women’s Medical Fund of Wisconsin was established by FFRF’s co-founder Anne Nicol Gaylor. The fund helps over 1,000 Wisconsin residents obtain affordable abortion care each year. This is more important than ever, since an 1849 abortion criminalization law is still on the books in the state. You can make a tax-deductible donation here.

Let’s make our secular voices heard and make abortion accessible for all.

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