With President Biden’s FY22 budget proposal expected this Friday, sexual and reproductive health advocates will have their eyes on many priorities, including:
- Additional investments in the Title X program, the only federal program dedicated to providing affordable sexual and reproductive health care like birth control, STI testing, and cancer screenings;
- Funding to provide young people with sex education and the sexual health services they need to make informed decisions about their bodies and lives through the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP); the CDC’s Division of Adolescent Health (DASH); and the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP); as well as cutting abstinence-only-until-marriage program funding
- Robust funding increases for international family planning and reproductive health programs, including the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), to meet the United States’ fair share in unmet need for contraception in low- and middle-income countries
But few parts of Biden’s budget would be more historic — or better demonstrate the administration’s commitment to racial equity — than keeping to his word to propose rescinding the discriminatory and racist Hyde Amendment.
For more than four decades, the Hyde Amendment has blocked millions of people with Medicaid from using their 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. Similar restrictions block people in other federally funded programs, including active-duty military personnel, veterans, Indigenous people, government employees, and incarcerated people from using their insurance to pay for an abortion. Medicaid and other federal programs have long been essential in narrowing health disparities and improving access to care.
Biden’s would be the first presidential budget in decades to propose an end to this racist policy. The move would send a clear signal from the president of the United States that our federal laws should support everyone’s ability to access comprehensive health care services, including safe, legal abortion.
Tireless work and advocacy from people of color, All* Above All, and our partners in the Reproductive Justice community brought us to this historic achievement. Our partners have led the charge, educating the public and policymakers about the harms of coverage bans, building coalitions, shaping grassroots strategies, and moving all parties to be bolder in the fight to bring true reproductive freedom to all people — no matter your zip code, income, or type of insurance. Ending the Hyde Amendment would be a major step toward greater equity in abortion access.
It is because their work laid the foundation and created momentum around ending Hyde, which has picked up steam in the past several years, that this support has never been stronger:
- The public is on our side: The Hyde Amendment is deeply unpopular: 6 in 10 people agree that Medicaid should cover abortion services like it covers all other reproductive health services.
- We now have the second-ever House majority in favor of full reproductive rights for all, with champions like Reps. Barbara Lee, Ayanna Pressley, Jan Schakowsky, Diana DeGette, and Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro leading the fight to end Hyde.
- We have a U.S. Senate with leaders like Sens. Tammy Duckworth, Sen. Patty Murray, and Sen. Mazie Hirono, who re-introduced the EACH Act with those same House leaders, who are talking to their colleagues about the importance of this issue to health access and equity.
Should the administration’s budget propose rescinding the Hyde Amendment, it would be an important demonstration of support at a critical time. Across the country, access to safe, legal abortion has rarely been more fraught. So far in 2021, more than 500 abortion restrictions have been introduced in state legislatures — including a six week ban signed into law in Texas just last week. The Supreme Court also just took up a case from Mississippi that is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.
While no single policy, including ending the Hyde Amendment or Helms Amendment, would protect all abortion access across the country, it’s important to have elected officials who will support a vast array of policies to expand reproductive freedom in every way possible. It will be up to Congress to finish the job and eliminate all outstanding abortion restrictions from the appropriations process, increase funding for programs that expand sexual and reproductive health care services in the U.S. and around the world, and pass much-needed proactive legislation, such as the Women’s Health Protection Act, the EACH Act, the Global HER Act, and more.
Planned Parenthood, our supporters, and our partners stand with the Biden administration and Congress when they stand up for the health and rights of all people. It’s time to speak with one clear voice: Everyone — no matter their insurance coverage or how much money they make— should be able to access the full range of reproductive health care, including abortion. It’s time to end the Hyde Amendment.
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.