Anti-Hyde Pushback Sparked by Health Care Battle

Friday, April 30, 2010

Low-income women's advocates have been trying to repeal the Hyde Amendment for years. Now they have more support, as health reform threatens to extend Medicaid-style abortion restrictions to all U.S. women.

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Immediate Attention on Health Reform

While repealing the Hyde Amendment is a long-term goal, Waxman said the center plans to focus its immediate attention on improving the health care reform legislation.

"We do not like the language but there are better and worse ways it can be implemented while we still try to fix it legislatively," Waxman said.

Among the concerns is the stipulation that the new insurance exchanges have at least one plan that does not provide abortion coverage, while there is no requirement that at least one plan must cover abortion, she said.

"It was incredibly discouraging to see the messages of the anti-choice folks taken up by someone as prominent as the president," said Laura MacCleery, a spokesperson for the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York.

The center will "look for ways to take back ground on federal funding of abortion," MacCleery said. But the health care debate demonstrated how hard it will be to eliminate Hyde, she said.

Many pro-choice advocates say that, in terms of abortion services, health care reform leaves poor women, and even women covered by private insurance, worse off than before.

Susan Elan covered politics at daily newspapers in the New York metropolitan area for more than a decade. She is now working on a Master of Public Health degree at New York Medical College.

For more information:

For more information:

Center for Reproductive Rights:

National Network of Abortion Funds Petition Hyde:

The George Washington University School of Public Health analysis of the Stupak/Pitts Amendment:

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