In a greatly disappointing move, the Obama Administration released their version of the Fiscal Year 2010 budget without bracketing the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment is a provision in the federal budget restricting federal Medicaid funding for abortion, except in the case of rape, incest, and danger to the life of the woman. It was first implemented in 1977, four years after the Supreme Court legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade. Congress has renewed the Hyde Amendment every year for the past 32 years. Currently, only 17 states use their own funds to cover all or most medically necessary abortions. Though bracketing the language would not have repealed it, it would have sent a strong signal of disapproval for these restrictions from the White House, a crucial step in beginning to undo this unjust policy.
What does this mean for Latinas?
- At a time of economic crisis and while the nation is struggling to reform its broken health care system, the White House has chosen to substitute ideology for reasonable healthcare policy.
- Latinas are disproportionately represented among Medicaid recipients. Nearly a quarter of women of reproductive age on Medicaid are Latinas. These women often use money that’s needed for rent, bills and food to pay for an abortion. They face greater economic hardship and even the risk of an unsafe, self-induced abortion.
- Politicians have created a two-tier system in the U.S.: women with private health insurance or private funds can access abortion, but poor women cannot. Poor Latinas are put at serious health risk by politicians who are blocking their access to legal abortion.
The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health urges Congress to take steps to repeal the politically-motivated barriers to legal abortions for poor women. This is an opportunity for policy-makers to stand up on behalf of women and show leadership to the Latina community who supports reproductive justice for women on Medicaid.