Issue Guide
Ending Barriers to Abortion Care

Sample Questions

  • Because of the Hyde amendment, many people are not able to afford abortion care. I believe no one should be forced to continue a pregnancy against their will because of their income or the type of insurance they have. What will you do to guarantee an end to the Hyde amendment and other bans on insurance coverage of abortion?
  • 1 in 4 women in the U.S. will have an abortion in her life, but politicians ban government health insurance plans like Medicaid from covering abortion. I don’t think that politicians should be interfering in people’s private medical decisions just because they are enrolled in Medicaid. As president, will you sign the EACH Woman Act into law so that people can afford abortion no matter what kind of insurance they have?
  • Everyone has the right to safe, legal abortion. But when the government bans abortion coverage in health insurance, that right is not a reality for everyone. Will you guarantee that any health care plan you sign as president will include coverage for abortion, along with all other pregnancy-related health care?

ACLU Position

Everyone, regardless of where they live or how much they make, should have access to abortion and other reproductive healthcare. Eliminating restrictions on abortion, including the Hyde Amendment and related government bans on insurance coverage of abortion, is critical to making the fundamental right to safe, legal abortion a reality for people across the country.

Background

The Supreme Court recognized the constitutional right to abortion more than 45 years ago in Roe v. Wade. Today, however, the right to abortion is not a reality for all, due to a variety of restrictions that seriously limit access depending on where you live, your income, and what type of insurance you have.

The Hyde amendment bans coverage of abortion in most circumstances for people enrolled in Medicaid. Since Hyde was first passed in 1976, Congress has also restricted abortion coverage in a variety of other government health insurance plans and programs, and many states have passed their own laws restricting abortion coverage in both private and public insurance plans. As a result, in many parts of the country, the right to an abortion is a reality only for those privileged enough to afford out-of-pocket care.

Poor women, and particularly poor women of color, are disproportionately affected by these bans; one in four Medicaid-eligible women who seeks an abortion has been denied care altogether, forcing them to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term and leaving their families in poverty. Proposed legislation like the EACH Woman Act would lift such bans on abortion coverage in government insurance programs and stop political interference in private insurance markets.

Coverage bans are part of a larger scheme to restrict abortion access by anti-abortion politicians around the country. Since 2011, state legislatures have quietly passed more than 400 medically unnecessary and politically motivated restrictions, creating a web of barriers that push safe and affordable abortion care out of reach. Because of the combined impact of these restrictions, people in 27 major cities in the U.S. have to travel 100 miles or more to access care.