The ability to seek a health care service should not be prevented by how much money you make or where you live. Whether it is a public or private program, health insurance should cover the care we need to ensure we are all able to manage our health and care for our families. Since the passage of the Hyde Amendment in 1976, Congress has withheld health care assistance for abortion for people who utilize benefits through a public program like Medicaid. The fact is that the first woman to die of an unsafe illegal abortion after Roe v. Wade was a Latina. Rosie Jiménez couldn’t afford services and was refused coverage from Medicaid.
For a person struggling to get by withholding coverage means they may not have the chance to make the best decision for themselves or their families. Decades under this policy have resulted in too many women and their families pushed further into poverty as they scramble to find the money for an abortion.
Well today [May 28] under the leadership of President Biden, we took a big step forward in addressing the harms that can come from politicians deciding to push their beliefs and political agendas at the expense of the health, rights and bodily autonomy of Black and Brown people who are hurt most by the Hyde Amendment.
President Biden made a commitment to get rid of this racist policy and today he came through by releasing a federal budget that does not include Hyde. We are thrilled that the budget has excluded the Hyde Amendment, but we are bitterly disappointed the budget included the Helms Amendment, a racist policy that denies millions of people access to abortion services by forcing restrictions on foreign aid from the US. When will the US finally stop imposing this harmful policy? Why leave in a policy that denies millions of people across the world access to abortion services and falls hardest on Black and Brown people?
We are thrilled that the budget has excluded the Hyde Amendment, but we are bitterly disappointed the budget included the Helms Amendment, a racist policy that denies millions of people access to abortion services by forcing restrictions on foreign aid from the US.
Today we celebrate as part of the thriving movement led by women of color to halt the Hyde Amendment, but we also expect for real change and justice for the millions of women and girls of color around the world who are hurt by Helms.
As is often the case as reproductive justice advocates, we celebrate and commit to continuing to strive forward and to never ignore the needs of those ignored by those in power. There is cause to celebrate and there is work to be done. Together, we will continue to do that work.
Dusti Gurule is the Executive Director of Colorado Organization Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR).
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