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TO: Interested Parties

FROM: Jacqueline Ayers, Vice President, Government Relations & Public Policy at Planned Parenthood Federation of America

DATE: July 26, 2021

RE: Historic Week: House moves to end all abortion coverage bans and other reproductive health restrictions


This week will be a pivotal moment for sexual and reproductive health and rights in the U.S. and around the world. The U.S. House of Representatives will begin to pass a package of appropriations bills that would collectively end the Hyde Amendment and all other appropriations abortion coverage bans, as well as permanently repeal the global gag rule, and invest in key sexual and reproductive health care programs. 

As state politicians pass a record number of abortion restrictions this year, these bills are an important victory for reproductive freedom in this country. They would not have been possible without the tireless work and advocacy from people of color, All* Above All, and our partners in the Reproductive Justice community who brought us to this historic achievement. This week’s spending bills bring us closer to true reproductive freedom for all people — no matter your income, type of insurance, or where you live. 

Together, the bills the House will begin to pass this week would end: 

The Hyde Amendment: For more than four decades, the Hyde Amendment has blocked millions of people with Medicaid from using their federal health coverage to access safe, legal abortion. Because of centuries of systemic racism and bias, Medicaid disproportionately serves Black, Latino, and LGBTQ+ communities —  people who already face other barriers to care and economic advancement. This year, the Biden-Harris administration became the first administration in decades to exclude the Hyde Amendment from its presidential budget. (Labor HHS bill) 

The Weldon Amendment: The Weldon Amendment threatens state and local governments that seek to protect or expand abortion care or coverage with the loss of federal health dollars. It also emboldens health care entities to use personal or religious beliefs to deny access to abortion care. (Labor HHS bill) 

The D.C. Medicaid Coverage Ban: The D.C. Medicaid Ban, also known as the Dornan Amendment, prohibits the District of Columbia from using locally-raised tax dollars to cover abortion care for people enrolled in D.C. Medicaid. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 93% of D.C. residents whose access to abortion is restricted by the abortion coverage ban are Black and Hispanic. (FSGG bill)

Federal Employees Health Benefits Program Abortion Coverage Ban: The abortion coverage ban in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program blocks federal employees from accessing health insurance plans that cover abortion. No employers, including the federal government, should be allowed to interfere in an employee’s personal health care decisions. (FSGG bill) 

The Abortion Coverage Ban for Incarcerated People: This abortion ban blocks incarcerated people in the federal prison system from accessing safe, legal abortion, which disproportionately affects women of color. (CJS bill)

The Abortion Coverage Ban for Peace Corps Volunteers: This coverage ban applies Hyde Amendment restrictions to volunteers in the Peace Corps program, blocking them from accessing safe, legal abortions, with limited exceptions. Until 2014, Peace Corps Volunteers were subjected to a complete ban on abortion access with no exceptions. (SFOPs bill) 

Helms Amendment Restrictions: The Helms Amendment blocks the use of foreign assistance for abortion in countries around the world, even where abortion is legal. The policy endangers lives, stigmatizes abortion, and undermines the advancement of health, human rights, and gender equality. (SFOPs bill) 

The Global Gag Rule: The global gag rule prohibits non-governmental organizations in other countries from receiving any U.S. global health assistance if they provide, refer, counsel or advocate for legal abortion in their country — even if these activities are supported solely with non-U.S. funds. Marginalized communities — including women and girls, young people, and LGBTQ+ people — have experienced devastating constraints on services as a result of the global gag rule. While President Biden rescinded the rule shortly after taking office, Congress must act to permanently repeal the global gag rule to ensure that no future president can bring back this cruel policy. (SFOPs bill) 

But wait, there’s more: 

The packages also make critical investments in access to sexual and reproductive health care and increasing health equity: The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill provides $400 million for Title X, increases funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, and defunds ineffective and discriminatory abstinence-only programs for youth. The State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPs) bill would also make critical investments in international family planning programs, including nearly doubling U.S. contributions to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to $70 million and increasing funding for bilateral family planning to $760 million. 

For more information or to speak to a Planned Parenthood Federation of America spokesperson for a story, please reach out to [email protected].

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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care for all people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect, and without judgment, striving to create equitable access to health care. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable education and information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports the independently incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates operating health centers across the U.S.