Hyde: The Status Quo Is Not O.K.

A guest post by Karen Leiter, Human Rights Researcher for the Center for Reproductive Rights

About a year ago, I began researching a report for the Center for Reproductive Rights on the damaging impact of the Hyde Amendment. Hyde has blocked federal Medicaid funding for abortions for 34 years, preventing more than a million poor women from exercising their reproductive rights.

The Center wanted to get the real stories of women affected by Hyde so we joined with the National Network of Abortion Funds to interview women across the country personally affected by this dangerous policy.

Today, we’ve released the report, WHOSE CHOICE? How the Hyde Amendment Harms Poor Women, and a short video laying out 34 years of Hyde’s negative impact on women.

[Transcript is below the fold]

One story in the report comes from a disabled veteran of the Iraq war struggling as a single mother. While trying to raise the necessary funds, she was forced to delay her abortion for more than six weeks and had to cancel several appointments, all while the cost of the procedure continued to increase.

We also hear from a mother of three who lost her job while pregnant, and said she knew she “couldn’t afford a baby” given her financial circumstances but had “mixed feelings” about getting an abortion. In addition to borrowing money from her sisters and receiving assistance from an abortion fund, she had to delay paying some of her bills in order to pay for her abortion.

These stories of financial and emotional hardship are heartbreaking. Moreover, even women who should qualify for an abortion under Hyde’s very limited exceptions often struggle to obtain coverage and are denied funding.

This is only a snapshot of the harm inflicted by Hyde, which will likely be expanded if anti-choice members of Congress have their way. Right now, a bill introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) is quietly circulating through Congress seeking to permanently ban all federal funding for abortions. But that’s not where it stops. The “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” also effectively eliminates abortion coverage in the private insurance market nationwide and could undermine women’s access to life-saving emergency abortions at state and local public hospitals.

This bill already has more than 170 co-sponsors and is picking up traction in the House. We need to stop its progress immediately. You can taking action today.


Hyde: The Status Quo Is Not O.K.

Ten female icons pop up on screen in quick succession. One of those icons turns dark blue as the rest fade away.

“Number of US women covered by Medicaid: 1 in 10”

The dark blue icon begins replicating quickly in the background until the background is solid blue, which rolls up with the following stat:

“Women of reproductive age covered by Medicaid: 7.4 million”

Camera pans down to new stat:

“In 2006, average cost for first trimester abortion: $413”

A green bar graph accompanies the $413, and red starts rising on the bar as we switch to:

“Percentage of monthly income for Medicaid-eligible family of 3 in Louisiana: 20%”

New text appears as the red bar graph triples in size:

“By 20 weeks, the average cost of an abortion triples.”

Push in on the red portion of the graph until it fills the screen. The text below comes into view:

“Except in very limited circumstances, the Hyde Amendment has banned federal coverage of abortion annually since 1976.”

The screen is torn down the middle to reveal:

“Total abortions covered by the federal government in 2006: 85”

The “85” turns white as everything else disappears in blackness. As we pull backwards until the “85” becomes to small to read, we pull “through” the text below until it becomes fully visible:

“58% of Medicaid-eligible women say paying for abortion creates serious hardship.”

“Serious hardship” slides into background behind:

“But thanks to the Hyde Amendment, the federal government refuses to help.”

“Refuses to help” replaces “Serious hardship” in the background:

“Total number of women denied coverage since Hyde: 1,000,000+

The Status Quo Is Not OK.

Do not let Hyde continue to hurt women in need.

Support our efforts in Congress to repeal Hyde today:


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18 comments for “Hyde: The Status Quo Is Not O.K.

  1. September 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    off-topic comment: text transcription in-video may be adequate for folks whose trouble with videos is no access to audio (whether technological or in their own person), but for people whose internet access disables or otherwise makes video viewing impossible, it’s basically useless. While it’s manageable in a pinch, it should not be considered a substitute for independent transcripts.

    • September 22, 2010 at 2:05 pm

      Ah, I didn’t realize that Anna. I will work on getting a transcript.

      • September 22, 2010 at 2:22 pm

        The post has now been updated with a transcript. Thanks for the heads up, Anna.

  2. tinfoil hattie
    September 22, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Of course, the answer is always: Then you slutty poor women shouldn’t get pregnant.

    I’m so sick of everything.

  3. Politicalguineapig
    September 23, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Ugh, and you know what’s worse? Viagra is covered by tax dollars. It serves little to no medical purpose. So why is it covered by tax dollars when abortion isn’t? We should make those horny senators and congressmen pay for their own vanity drugs. Or threaten Viagra’s coverage by Medicaid and Medicare until the Hyde Amendment is dropped.

  4. PrettyAmiable
    September 23, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Politicalguineapig: It serves little to no medical purpose.

    Um, I would argue that low sex drive might affect some people very much, and I think I probably disagree with your implied definition of “medical purpose.” I think Viagra should be funded, but I also think we need to speed up development of female versions of the drug and cover the shit out of that too.

    And of course fund abortions. I just don’t think those things are connected, necessarily.

  5. Politicalguineapig
    September 23, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    PrettyAmiable: Yeah, but we’d get a whole lot of lobbying power if we made it a tit-for-tat situation. Carpe testes, if you will.
    And I know I’m going to get a whoole lot of shit for this, but I just don’t see the point of Viagra or female sex drugs. Sex is a luxury, not neccesarily a required part of life. (Biologically, it’s a neccisity, individually, no.)
    Besides, I can see the potential for a whole lot of misuse if the female sex drugs get sold over the counter. My dislike of viagra and it’s clones has nothing to do with the users and everything to do with the creep factor.

    * Would I like to have sex? Yes. But that requires investing money I don’t have in clothes, makeup, and contraceptives and someone trustworthy. Because I’m neither blond nor well-endowed, I’d end up with all the creeps.)

    • September 23, 2010 at 4:29 pm

      And I know I’m going to get a whoole lot of shit for this, but I just don’t see the point of Viagra or female sex drugs. Sex is a luxury, not neccesarily a required part of life. (Biologically, it’s a neccisity, individually, no.)
      Besides, I can see the potential for a whole lot of misuse if the female sex drugs get sold over the counter. My dislike of viagra and it’s clones has nothing to do with the users and everything to do with the creep factor.

      …you know that this same argument goes for abortion and birth control pills, right?

  6. PrettyAmiable
    September 23, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Funny story, but my not-conventionally-attractive, minimum-wage-making sister fucks. She does have a rack on her, so I suppose that’s the difference and that’s how she manages to find men who aren’t creeps who also like to fuck. [/snark].

    If you don’t want to have sex and can’t make the investment (which I would argue is not monetary so much as emotional), that’s cool. I’m not putting up roadblocks to you not-fucking. My understanding is that feminism wasn’t about restricting anyone’s sexuality just because it doesn’t suit you or your actions, but I suppose I may be wrong.

    “Besides, I can see the potential for a whole lot of misuse if the female sex drugs get sold over the counter.”

    And this point irritates me every time it’s made. EVERYTHING EVER is open to abuse. You know the morning after pill is available OTC? Clearly the menz are going to use it to force women to have abortions!


  7. September 23, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Land of the Free, Home of the Brave = some get to be free, others must settle for brave…

    It’s something I will never understand about the US, how it can pretend/believe that something so horrible is justice and liberty. Or any liberal philosophy in general, which preaches choice, while scrutinising and distrusting the actual choices of people. Freedom, freedom, freedom, just make sure that no greedy/lazy/slutty individual abuses the system. And literally “god forbid” that people don’t live by “good christian” standards. what kind of freedom is that anyway?

    Doesn’t the people fighting to keep it that way realise how bigoted they are being?

  8. slingshot
    September 23, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Viagra has nothing to do with sex drive. It just gives you an erection.

  9. slingshot
    September 23, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    I think a healthy sexual life (by yourself or with others) IS part of healthcare. I would be rather depressed if I wasn’t able to masturbate or have sex with my partner.

  10. Politicalguineapig
    September 23, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Slingshot: Erections are a major part of sex, as I understand it.

  11. Rkel
    September 24, 2010 at 3:48 am

    Politicalguineapig: Slingshot: Erections are a major part of sex, as I understand it.  

    I’ll just drop this brainwave I had: Maybe sex and sexuality is related to an individual’s mental state?

    In all seriousness, are you merely rejecting the funding of viagra because it has something to do with erections? MEN’S erections?

  12. piny
    September 24, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    PG, I can´t find a nice way to respond to what you´ve said about your personal life–¨If you don´t mind my asking, how old are you again?” was about the best I could manage. So I´ll just refrain.

    I can discuss your attitude towards other people´s sex lives. You–excuse me, some people–may think of sex as something they might like to have, like a danish or a coffee-table book about national parks. For most people, it´s a part of life, inextricable from the human relationships that underpin their adult existence.

    Whatever you think of the wisdom or relative ease of abstinence (it is a lot less messy than lack of access to modern medicine), your feelings and accordant practices are not generally shared. They weren´t really common even back when there was no such thing as reliable birth control or a cure for sexual dysfunction.

    People fuck a lot, and they can either do so in emotional and physical health or in grief, fear, and desperation. What is the point in acting as though it bothers us that other people have lots of sex that makes them happy? I can see the political advantage for, say, dominionists. But why would we do it?

  13. slingshot
    September 24, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Politicalguineapig: Slingshot: Erections are a major part of sex, as I understand it.  

    Well, some sex. Sex can surely happen without erections. But it does not have to do with sex drive. If you have no sex drive, viagra will not help.

    And “sex is a luxury”?? Really? So poor people, or people with sexual dysfunction, etc don’t deserve sex? (or masturbation either? If your a guy it might be hard to masturbate without an erection.)

    Please, it’s not a luxury, it’s a FACT OF LIFE. Most people consider there sexuality a necessary part of their happiness and health.

  14. October 20, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Sorry to see the discussion has gotten so far off track. My opinion is that ensuring that women have the right to choose necessarily means that they ought to have access to those choices equally as well. You wouldn’t tell someone that they can choose between having chemotherapy or surgery and then follow that up by saying, but the surgery isn’t really an option. Then where’s the choice?

    Abortion coverage is part of healthcare coverage. Period. Fund it.

Comments are closed.