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The Hyde Amendment: Abortion Coverage and Health Insurance Reform

I’m going to wade right in here.  I am not a fan of abortions, but neither am I of amputations.  Both are sometimes necessary.  To me, too often abortion opponents forget the mother.  She is a life present before us.  Her care should not be forgotten.

I have been listening and reading the discussions over how the abortion coverage may sink health care reform.  I think it would be a shame if this one issue does sink reform.

If my understanding of the Hyde Amendment (and it’s amendments over the years) is correct the Federal Government covers the cost of abortions in cases of rape or incest or when the life of the mother is at risk.  It does not cover the cost when the health of the mother is at risk:

With these bans, the federal government turns its back on women who need abortions for their health.  Women with cancer, diabetes, or heart conditions, or whose pregnancies otherwise threaten their health, are denied coverage for abortions.  Only if a woman would otherwise die, or if her pregnancy results from rape or incest, is an abortion covered.  The bans thus put many women’s health in jeopardy.

I agree with opponents who do not wish to cover abortions for simply any reason (i.e. the timing for a pregnancy is not good, etc).  Abortion should never be used for birth control.  That should be done using birth control pills, condoms, abstinence, etc.

Currently, the only abortions available under Medicaid are the ones mentioned above.  I think it’s a shame that distinctions can not be made to provide coverage for a woman who’s HEALTH would be negatively affected by her pregnancy.  All insurance policies should do so in my opinion.

Opponents of abortion want language that would prohibit any private insurance company that accepts federal funds from offering to policyholders abortions other than those already eligible under Medicaid.


How Abortion Could Imperil Health-Care Reform by Michael Scherer; Monday, Aug. 24, 2009;

What is the Hyde Amendment? (July 21, 2004); ACLU

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*

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