Today marks the 43rd anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, a restriction that pushes abortion care out of reach for people who rely on Medicaid for insurance coverage. For 43 years, this dangerous and unfair ban on abortion coverage has interfered with people’s private health care decisions.
In Texas, we know the impact of Hyde all too well. Rosie Jimenez, a Chicana from McAllen, Texas, was the first woman to die as a result of the Hyde Amendment. Rosie was a poor single mother who wanted to finish college and provide a better life for her 5-year old daughter. Instead, she died at age 27 from an unsafe abortion she had to obtain because Medicaid would not cover her procedure. Rosie deserved better.
Restrictions like the Hyde Amendment disproportionately impact people like Rosie -- low income people, people of color, young people, transgender and non-binary people. Of the 7.5 million women of reproductive age affected by the Hyde Amendment, more than half of them are women of color. When a woman wants to get an abortion but is denied, she is more likely to fall into poverty, less likely to have a full-time job, and twice as likely to experience domestic violence. She may also forgo basic necessities such as heat and electricity in order to save the required funds needed for the procedure.
Politicians should not be able to deny anyone's access to health services, including abortion, just because of their income or their insurance provider. On this 43rd anniversary, we honor Rosie’s memory and stand in support of the women of color who have been leading the campaign to end the Hyde Amendment. With their leadership, we can put an end to the abortion coverage bans that put health care out of reach for those struggling to make ends meet.