In the United States, federal funds do not pay for abortion services, except in cases of rape, incest, or threat to the pregnant woman’s life or health. Congressional Republicans are doing their best to get rid of even those narrow exceptions, and it’s crucial to sound the alarm about how hostile their bill is to rape survivors and women everywhere.
But even the status quo is pretty terrible for low-income women. The Hyde Amendment, which has been around for decades, limits federal Medicaid funding of abortion — so low-income women who rely on Medicaid for their health care have to pay for abortion out-of-pocket. “No taxpayer dollars for abortion” is a nice-sounding slogan, but the reality for women on the ground is that insufficient Medicaid funding means that an unwanted pregnancy is disastrous. Via Amanda, The National Network of Abortion Funds has collected the stories of women who have used their services, and the testimonials are heart-breaking. One example:
My son is 11 months old with a serious birth defect. He’s been in and out of intensive care for his whole life and has three or four doctor’s appointments every month. After he was born, I had to drop out of college and I lost my job because of all the appointments. My son’s medical care is covered by Medicaid, but it won’t cover my abortion.
How can I find the money for an abortion when there’s not enough for diapers? And how could I raise two babies when the one I have now needs all that I have to give?
I just moved to this state to live with my best friend and her baby. We thought that we could do better if we worked together, took care of each other.
But now I’ve already had to take money out of our grocery fund to put toward the cost of my abortion. My friend understands, but we’re going to be short on food money for a while. I borrowed money from some old classmates. I sold my television. I managed to scrape together what I needed. But when I got to the clinic, they told me that my abortion would cost $100 more.
$100 more than I had. $100 more than I could imagine finding.
There was no way I could go home without getting my abortion. So I sat down my diaper bag and started pulling things out – formula, bottles, diapers – to sell to the other women in the waiting room. Maybe I could raise that $100 right there.
Let’s keep up the #DearJohn work to make sure that the pool of women who cannot access abortion doesn’t get any bigger. But also consider donating to the National Network of Abortion Funds, to help women in need.
- Join Feministe in Bowling for Abortion Access by Jill April 15, 2010
- In honor of Dr. Tiller by Jill May 31, 2009
- Last Chance: Bowling for Abortion Access by Jill April 26, 2010
- It’s Cold & Flu Season….Do You Have Paid Sick Days? by La Lubu September 17, 2009
- Hyde: The Status Quo Is Not O.K. by Guest Blogger September 22, 2010