President’s budget lifts restrictions on insurance coverage for abortion for DC women
Today the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) applauds the President’s budget for lifting restrictions on Washington, D.C.’s use of local funds to provide insurance coverage for abortion to low-income women and for easing restrictions on abortion coverage for some Peace Corps volunteers. NLIRH expressed disappointment, however, that the President’s budget retains the harmful Hyde Amendment, a 40-year-old policy that withholds coverage for abortion for women enrolled in Medicaid.
Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, issued the following statement:
“We are pleased that the President has decided to lift restrictions on D.C.’s use of its own funds to provide coverage for abortion for low-income women and hope that Congress will do the same. However, we are disappointed to see that this budget fails to challenge Congress’ harmful policy of withholding insurance coverage for abortion for women across the country. The amount of money a woman has in her pocket shouldn’t determine whether she has access to pregnancy-related care, including abortion. Because of Hyde and other similar restrictions, many Latinas are forced to choose between paying for the health services they need or paying for food, childcare and rent. We now turn our attention to Congress and urge them to put politics aside and ensure that all women have access to health coverage that allows them to make critical decisions about their lives, families and futures without coercion or discrimination.”
Current policy, passed annually through the budget and appropriations process, withholds coverage for abortion services for women enrolled in Medicaid (Hyde Amendment), women living in the District of Columbia, military service members and families, Peace Corps volunteers, federal employees and women in federal prison or immigration detention facilities. Additionally, a number of states with high concentrations of Latinas, such as Texas and Florida, place the same Hyde-like restrictions on their state health insurance programs, creating more barriers for women to accessing abortion care in these states.
Restrictions on insurance coverage for abortion harm the health and well being of Latinas nationwide, their families, and communities. More than one in five women of reproductive age in the District of Columbia are insured through the Medicaid program, and this is expected to rise with implementation of the Affordable Care Act. More than 90 percent of the District’s non-elderly Medicaid enrollees are people of color, including Black women and Latinas. Nationally, nearly 14 million Latinos/as receive insurance through Medicaid, and Latinas represent 19 percent of new military enlistees. In fact, one in four Latinas qualify for a government source of health insurance to meet their health care needs. Latinas also experience higher rates of unintended pregnancy than their White counterparts, underscoring the need for safe, legal, affordable pregnancy related care, including abortion.
The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is the only national organization working on behalf of the reproductive health and justice of the 24 million Latinas, their families and communities in the United States through public education, community mobilization and policy advocacy.