WHAT FEMINIST MUST DO TO MAINTAIN REPRODUCTIVE CONTROL
FROM THE CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS
A poor woman in Texas, relying on public assistance to make ends meet for her family, decides that she can’t continue an unwanted pregnancy. But a first-trimester abortion costs more than her monthly rent, and she soon finds out that Medicaid, which covers almost all other medically necessary health services, will not pay for it. So she puts off having an abortion until she has saved enough money for it, even though the longer she waits the costlier and riskier the procedure will be.
When abortion was first legalized in 1973, federal funds were available to low-income women on Medicaid who sought abortions. But four years later, Congress enacted the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortion except under extremely limited circumstances: rape, incest, and danger to the mother’s life.
The Hyde Amendment has prevented millions of low-income women from making their own decisions about whether to have a child, forcing some to continue with a pregnancy even when it jeopardizes their health. According to the Guttmacher Institute, as many as 35% of women eligible for Medicaid who want an abortion will not be able to get one.
Many other women who rely on the federal government for health coverage—including women in federal prisons, federal employees, and Native American women—have also been deprived of their right to abortion. Washington, DC is prohibited by federal law from using even its own funds to cover abortion services for poor women. And women serving in the military can’t get abortions on their bases even with their own money.
A key goal of the Center’s Federal Policy Agenda is expanding access to abortion for all women, and we are calling on President Obama to strike these funding restrictions from his 2010 proposed budget. You can help us: Tell President Obama that the government should not intrude on a poor woman’s decision whether or not to continue a pregnancy.
In Wisconsin, poor women face major obstacles in order to terminate pregnancies. Many of these women already have too many children and various medical problems. YOU can help if you have any extra income. The Women's Medical Fund collects donations to pay one half of poor women's abortions. 100% of your donation will go to these women - their books are open. You can read about the women's stories on their website.